Title: The Haunting of Leigh Harker
Author: Darcy Coates
Genre: Horror, thriller
Date of Publication: September 7, 2021
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Sometimes the dead reach back…
Leigh Harker’s quiet suburban home was her sanctuary for more than a decade, until things abruptly changed. Curtains open by themselves. Radios turn off and on. And a dark figure looms in the shadows of her bedroom door at night, watching her, waiting for her to finally let down her guard enough to fall asleep.
Pushed to her limits but unwilling to abandon her home, Leigh struggles to find answers. But each step forces her towards something more terrifying than she ever imagined.
A poisonous shadow seeps from the locked door beneath the stairs. The handle rattles through the night and fingernails scratch at the wood. Her home harbours dangerous secrets, and now that Leigh is trapped within its walls, she fears she may never escape.
Do you think you’re safe?
This novel gripped me with horror from the very first sentence. Coates combines metaphors and grotesque imagery in a way that immediately sets the reader on edge.
The haunting of Leigh Harker is creepy in part because of its uniqueness. The strange occurrences that are happening in Leigh’s house are unlike your typical haunting. I can’t go into specifics without spoilers, but the way that the “something” that appears in her doorway looks and acts is all so peculiar, and because of that, there’s a fresh level of terror associated with it.
All this said, the terror grabs you by the throat and doesn’t let go. It’s one horrifying scene after another, and there came a point where I became a little numb to it all. I started to notice not-so-minor plot holes. But then, there was the twist.
I can’t say much about the twist without spoiling everything. But it’s a twist that simultaneously slowed the horror and added a new level of horror. The twist explained away the plot holes that I’d been rigorously making note of. A novel that was once just straight up chills and thrills without much depth beyond that became much more intriguing, the twist adding a layer of mystery to the plot.
Unfortunately, the very final twist wasn’t as good as the twist that happened fairly early on in the novel. It came somewhat out of left field, and wasn’t as well supported by the rest of the storyline.
All this said, this is a creepy and beautifully written novel, worth reading for the immersive writing style and that first massive, jaw-dropping reveal that forced me to stay up all night reading until I reached the last page.
*Thank you to the publisher, Netgalley, and the author for the ebook to review*
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