I have read one of Debbie’s books before but it was a young adult fiction so completely different to this gruesome and compelling horror novel!
In 1953 there is an appalling massacre at the Riley Asylum leaving only one survivor. Now in 2017 the asylum is being opened for tours and the first is on Halloween…
Jeannie Jones is a journalist, determined to investigate the mysterious tour and is convinced the excited participants are in danger. Her own grandmother was a nurse at the asylum and became a victim of the terrible massacre. Those chosen for the tour all resemble the physical appearance of murderer Mary Garbutt’s victims: is this coincidence?
This book is well written but extremely gory and graphic. It is a devastating insight into mental health treatment in asylums 70 years ago. Jeannie’s grandmother befriends an inmate whose crime is to be homosexual and suffers the indignity of aversion therapy and electrotherapy.
The plot is spooky and I enjoyed the tour, probably more than the participants! I love the way Deborah has used the different characters’ narratives to give us insights into their motivations and emotions.
This is so much more than a ghost story or horror tale. The chilling realisation of the historical accuracy of asylum treatment gives this book a great depth. The final chapter provides redemption for one character which leaves a smile on the reader’s face 🙂
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