Hey, it’s Sabrina and today I am here with a book review! I don’t write reviews very often because I find them difficult but every now and then I read a book and I realise I know exactly what to say. The Carrow Haunt by Darcy Coates is one such book, and I’m going to tell you all about it today. With no spoilers of course – I’ve even edited down the included synopsis from Goodreads here, because it gave too much away in my opinion. Anyway, let’s get to the review!
“The dead are restless here…
Remy is a tour guide for Carrow House, a notoriously haunted building. When she’s asked to host seven guests for a week-long stay to research Carrow’s phenomena, she hopes to finally experience some of the sightings that made the house famous.
At first, it’s everything they hoped for. Then… things quickly become twisted…
Remy is forced to consider the possibility that the ghost of the house’s original owner, a twisted serial killer, still walks the halls.
But by then it’s too late to escape.”
You may know both of these things already, but: I have been trying to read more horror books than usual this year and Vera kindly suggested that I pick up this book. I am so glad that I did, because it was everything I was hoping for in a horror. Not to say that my expectations were through the roof or anything – in fact, I was a little worried I wouldn’t like it – but it turned out really well.
My favourite aspects of the book were definitely the plot and the pacing. It was fast, mysterious and kept my attention the whole way through. I thought it was so genius to not only immediately start in but have almost the entirety of the story contained in, the haunted house itself. That way, anything could happen at any time, and the atmosphere was always tense and spooky. I found myself genuinely freaked out at times and made sure not to read it at night. I found it a little gory, but it wasn’t too dark and twisted.
Another part I liked is that I really got a feel for the house and its history. And speaking of the house’s history: there was a lot of it, and it shone through in the story. There were so many different ghosts and other haunted house elements that I was always waiting for the newest unexpected thing to happen.
There was also some variety between the characters, with each having a different reason for being on the trip. We had:
The unassuming leader, Remy is a reasonable woman with knowledge of the history of the house and frequently takes people on guided tours.
The mysterious stranger, Mark is the man who requests a small group of them take a trip to stay at the house and funds the entire project.
The owner of the house, April is a stubborn, rich teenager obsessed with all things paranormal.
April’s chaperone, Lucille is prim and proper… and absolutely terrified of the house. Honestly, I think she’s the most sane character.
The medium, Marjorie is an elderly woman with over 40 years experience communicating with the dead.
Marjorie’s helper, Bernard does all the cooking and otherwise tries to stay out of everyone’s way.
The modern ghost-hunter, Taj is experienced with technology and is hoping to get popular on Youtube with ghost sightings.
The spectator, Piers has always been interested in the supernatural and is really just hoping for an intriguing story to tell his grandchildren.
I truly enjoyed having such a wide cast of characters, each with their own distinct personality and slightly different goals. It was interesting to see the conflicts that played out between them as the story went on. I also particularly liked how everyone was fully prepared for ghosts and hauntings – there was no skepticism in this group, which I can sometimes find tedious in horrors.
I did of course have a few issues with the book, but they weren’t too significant and sort of expected of the genre. For example, I had to get past the ridiculousness of the idea of staying at the house when almost anyone who had stayed overnight in the past ended up dying. I thought maybe they should have organised for someone to come check in on them everyday or something as well. And, I won’t say too much about a certain bridge, but it annoyed me a lot.
The last thing I want to address is the ending! Again, no spoilers here, so don’t worry. But! I recently found out that there are two different endings to this book out there: one in the Kindle and audiobook version and one in the paperback! I read the paperback and I have to say that I really enjoyed the ending, even though it is a bit controversial! And after thinking about the alternate ending, I am happy to know I read this one.
In conclusion, I think The Carrow Haunt is a fantastic choice if you are looking for a horror that’s scary, but not too scary, fast, but not too fast, with some characters to care about and some to dislike as well as atmosphere off the charts!
What do you think?
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Have you read any other horror books recently? What do you think of skepticism in horror stories? Let me know!