this is a very quiet, atmospheric ghost story more interested in descriptions and layering individual moments to develop an overall mood than it is in delivering any horror-movie payoff.
i can appreciate it, objectively, as a piece of writing that adheres to the conventions and restraint that characterize traditional irish ghost stories, but as a reader/horror fan, i need more obvious scares to get my juices flowing.
it’s a slight book in length (202 pages) and in action – it’s ominous and suggestive and blurred by mist and speculation and aftermath, but not much actually, physically happens. the descriptions are lovely, with an emphasis on the natural beauty of ireland; its grandeur and isolation:
I’ve been many places in my life, but the Healy Pass felt like we’d somehow strayed into another world. Wildness lay in every direction, something equal parts fearful and sublime, the kind of raw that made my blood itch. Layers of rugged granite mountainside, the casual filthy-white scatter of sheep flecking the distance, the tumbling ground a desperation of greenery, thick as pond-scum in parts, stewed to the colour of sand by sun and wind along the higher reaches, clogging the channels between the domin-eering rock.
it’s a three for me because it’s enjoyable without being my perfect book-match, however, a well-written story for people who like to peep at the horror from in-between their fingers.
and it’s gonna be spooooooky!