Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Abbot's Keep by Benedict Ashforth

Started: 5th June
Finished: 11th June

This was the next book I downloaded from the Kindle Lending Library. To be honest, I'm finding it harder to find in there any of the kind of books I want to read, due to my picky tastes. I tend to do a search for either ghost stories, or Scottish fiction, that kind of thing. This time I searched for ghost stories, and this one popped up. It had some really good reviews, comparing the writer to the likes of Edgar Allan Poe and Bram Stoker.

Set in 1980, before mobile phones and email, Clifford Fox QC receives a letter from his estranged brother, and leaves his home and family to go in search of him.

The book begins with a letter from Clifford to his wife, explaining his reasons for departing so suddenly, while she wasn't there, and is followed by her response, again in the form of a letter to the hotel where he has booked a room. In fact, the whole book is written in letter format, back and forth, either from Clifford to his wife, or from his brother, Simon, to himself.

This, for me, was what spoiled this book, because the letters ran to several pages, and contained full dialogue and descriptive paragraphs. I couldn't believe that anyone would write that much detail into a letter, especially if, as in certain points in the story, they were writing whilst under the threat of imminent danger. It just seemed a bit unlikely and far-fetched. A few hastily-written letters dotted throughout the story would've been better, if the rest of it had just been the usual kind of narration, if you see what I mean.

I didn't find the 'ghost story' aspect of it scary at all either (not that any ghost story is really scary, but some are definitely a bit more chilling than others). It was all a bit predictable, and none of the characters were particularly likeable.

All in all, a bit disappointing. Glad it was free!

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