Saturday, 18 January 2014

The Ghost of Josiah Grimshaw by Suzy Turner

Reviewed by Chris Longmuir

I was slightly out of my comfort zone with this book, as my usual reading diet is crime, suspense, and action. However, I do like a good ghost story as well which was why I was drawn to it.

Emma and Lana are two adopted sisters and as the story evolves it becomes obvious they have special powers. The first section of the book where they discover a mysterious boy washed up by the sea, and then the death by drowning of the elderly Josiah Grimshaw was full of suspense and really kept me guessing, which is what I like in a book.

Lana is afraid of heights, so when she feels impelled to climb to the pinnacle of Carlton Point, not only was she terrified. I was too. And then when she stood on the edge of the sheer drop my heart was in my mouth, and here is how it felt for Lana – She could feel her heart beating, feel it thudding in her chest. She couldn’t open her mouth; it was too dry. All she wanted to do was scream but she couldn’t even do that . . . A sudden massive gust of wind took her feet from beneath her and she was forcefully pushed from the top of Carlton Point, falling silently and peacefully to the rocky hills below. End of chapter. Now that really is strong writing and a terrific cliff hanger.

There is a similar scene with Emma who is afraid of water. She is on a ferry when a voice entered her head and told her to jump . . . Her face was as white as a sheet, but her body didn’t seem to care as she threw herself from the boat into the cold waters of the Thames estuary.

The mystery deepens when the girls travel to London for a work placement, but this is no ordinary work placement. By this time the girls have developed their special powers and they join a group of young people who also have special powers. This was the section where I felt most out of my comfort zone, because there were descriptions of each person’s powers. Although this section was intriguing I found it lacked the pace of the previous section, but that is because I like suspence and action, and I have less patience for the building of fantasy worlds. I have a feeling that this will be the section that will appeal most to fantasy lovers.

The pace picked up again by the end of the book as Emma and Lana seek to free Josiah Grimwood and allow him to move on. The explanation of why he was held in limbo was intriguing and in line with the fantasy element of the story.

In conclusion I really liked the characters of Emma and Lana, and shared their fears and joys, which is what good charaterisation is all about. I also found lots to interest me in this story, and I loved the parts which were full of suspense and action. I did feel it lagged a bit in the middle, however dedicated readers of fantasy will probably not agree with me over this. Overall it was an enjoyable read.

Chris Longmuir

The book is available at:-