AUTHOR: NEIL SPRING | PUBLISHER: QUERCUS | RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Abandoning her miserable life, fleeing from an abusive husband, Clara has settled in a small Scottish town on the shores of Loch Ness. A rookie estate agent desperate for a big sale Clara carries out what she believes is a victimless crime, a perfect crime that will allow her to continue her charade. But someone was watching, someone who intends to take advantage of Clara’s delicate situation.
Author Neil Spring has concocted a darkly twisting narrative around a factual story many readers may be unaware of. Boleskine House has a chilling history without need of embellishment and Spring expertly draws on this raw material to weave an engaging story combining fantastical elements with grounded, real-life intrigue. There is mystery within the pages, and enough to keep the committed reader hooked, but at times The Burning House treads a finely balanced line that flirts with over-complication.
Developing like an intense episode of your favourite crime drama, Spring’s novel bravely reveals its cards very early. The key players are introduced early, with motivations both good and evil scarcely hidden as the madness builds and the body count rises. There are elements of campness in sections of the writing, of scientific exposition all combined with more than a hint or two of the supernatural. At times, The Burning House risks tripping over into ludicrousness. But the story itself, with the flamboyance of many of the characters and the occult themes at its heart, keeps you reading on.
The Burning House is likely not a novel you’ll remember too long or revisit, but it is a perfect page-turner to while away a few evenings. The history at its centre is possibly more interesting than the fiction built around it and will likely encourage you to dig a little deeper into the real-life history.