Reviewed by Simon Ives
This is one of the Red Eye series of YA novels from Stripes Publishing and is wonderfully gripping from the outset.
Seventeen year old Sam Hunter and his parents move from the Midlands to the London suburb of Hadlington and find themselves one of the select few families in Priory Mews, a cul-de-sac dominated by Bierce Priory.
On his way to his first day at his new school, Sam finds himself drawn to a crowd of fellow students in a park near the school where the body of a man has been found, hideously murdered. And this is still Chapter One.
Sam finds he fits in well at school, makes friends with Liam and Jo and finds it surprisingly easy to talk to the “Most Popular Girl In The School”, Emma Greenhill. As it turns out, Emma lives with her parents, mother a local doctor and father a leading surgeon and psychopharmacologist and both pillars of the community, in Bierce Priory.
Talking with his new friends about the body in the park he learns that the victim almost certainly came from Elton Gardens, an estate notorious for gangs and drug dealing, somewhat incongruously located adjacent to the otherwise quiet, upper middle class community.
Sam is then awoken by a blood-curdling scream in the middle of the night and his decision to investigate leads to a series of totally unforeseen events.
The story is told as it has been written by Sam and moves at a relentless pace. There is little time for reflection as the tale unfolds and Sam and his friends find themselves involved in a truly convoluted web that becomes a conspiracy theorists dream, especially one with a particularly gruesome and blood-thirsty imagination.
This is definitely not a tale for those who are squeamish or faint of heart. There are moments when I found myself thinking “You’re not really going to do that are you?” but the narrative races along, carrying the reader with it to its dramatic finale.
This is most highly recommended for readers who love a good horror story and have strong stomachs. They needn’t be YAs, either.