Title: The Haunting
Author: Alex Bell
Published: February 11th 2016
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Horror
Length: 352 pages
Source: Paperback ARC from publisher
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Some curses grow stronger with time…
People say that all Cornish inns are haunted, but the Waterwitch’s history is particularly chilling. Built from the salvaged timber of a cursed ship, the guest house’s dark secrets go further back than anyone can remember.
Emma is permanently confined to a wheelchair after an accident at the Waterwitch which took place when she was ten. Seven years later, she decides to return to the place where the awful event occurred. But the ancient inn still has its ghosts, and one particular spirit is more vengeful than ever…
A chilling new title in the Red Eye horror series from the author of Frozen Charlotte.
The sixth book in Stripes Publishing’s Red Eye series, Alex Bell is back with another terrifying tale. Alex wrote the first book in the series, Frozen Charlotte, and I found that to be the scariest of the all the Red Eye books that I’ve read so far, so I was eager to see what she brought to this new book.
Ever since a strange accident in her childhood that left her bound to a wheelchair, Emma hasn’t been back to the Waterwitch hotel that her grandmother ran. But her grandmother is ill and Emma is determined to see her before she passes away. Being back near the Waterwitch and her old life brings back old memories for Emma. As she reconnects with an old friend, Jem, they work together to try and figure out what the ghostly goings on in the hotel actually are and what they can do to stop it.
Bell’s writing is always so subtle with it’s chills and I love it. The Haunting isn’t a simple ghost story. Emma found a witch bottle just before her accident and broke the bottle, releasing the spirit of a vengeful witch. When she returns to the hotel years later, she finds out that it’s haunted. With the hotel being made from reclaimed timber from a sunken ship, it’s not just the spirits of the dead sailors that haunt the rooms, but the witch that Emma accidentally released in her youth, too. The witch wants the captain for what he did to her in the past.
I really loved the investigation that Emma and her friends did as they tried to figure out exactly what the witch wanted and why she was haunting them. It was really interesting to see the history behind the ship and the hotel and how it all connected to them.
Add to the haunting of the hotel, the haunting of Shell – Jem’s little sister – was also intriguing. I was curious as to why it was affecting her more than her brother but as her mother was a witch, Shell believed she was also a witch and the curse laid on her family was affecting her more because of that.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story. It wasn’t as scary as Frozen Charlotte, but it was still creepy enough that I couldn’t read it at night, alone, in the dark… Definitely an excellent read for horror fans.
About the Author
Alex Bell was born in 1986. She always wanted to be a writer but had several different back-up plans to ensure she didn’t end up in the poor house first. For some years these ranged from dolphin trainer to animal shelter vet but then, at fifteen, she had an epiphany involving John and Robert Kennedy and decided to become a lawyer instead.
To that end she eagerly started a Law Degree only to find it so boring that she was at a very real risk of going completely insane. To mitigate this she started writing again. The second book got her an agent with Carolyn Whitaker of London Independent Books but, unfortunately, not a publisher. The third book, written during her first summer holidays off from university, found a home with Gollancz. The Ninth Circle came out in April 2008 with possibly the most beautiful cover ever created (matched only by her second book, Jasmyn).
Not one to learn from past experience, Alex started the Legal Practice Course in London. There she met some great people and had a lot of fun messing about during lessons that were clearly meant to be extremely solemn affairs. Thankfully, she dropped out just before the point where all students must submit to the personality-removing process that is a compulsory part of being an esteemed member of the legal profession.
Now she happily dwells in an entirely make-believe world of blood, death, madness, murder and mayhem. The doctors have advised that it is best not to disturb her, for she appears to be happy there.
The only other thing to add is that Alex Bell is an immensely – immensely – talented young writer, blah, blah, blah. The books are great, blah, blah. Everyone should totally go out and buy them and stuff.
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads