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Spider Light

by Sarah Rayne

      The trouble with spider light is that it hides things, and when the twilight becomes day again they are often revealed as things you wouldn’t wish to see. Antonia Weston hopes to bury her past when she rents the cottage at Amberwood, a sleepy Cheshire village. Stuck for something to occupy her time and convinced that the cottage is haunted, she becomes interested in the history of Twygrist Mill, and the long vanished Latchkill Asylum. Less than a hundred years ago, people used to go in there, and were never seen again. But there are other secrets at Amberwood to uncover, those belonging not only to Antonia’s past but to other people’s, some of whom have less than benign intent...

...And now read on! This is real Grand Guignol, a blood-and-thunder gothic novel that comes roaring out of the past and back onto our bookshelves once more. Will it start a retro fashion for gothics? I doubt it, but this is a lot of fun nonetheless. Bloody murders, history repeating itself, lesbianism, lunacy and a touch of the supernatural all combine together in a heady cocktail that seems all the more potent if, like this reviewer, you have a taste for this sort of thing and have been starved of it for a long time. The whole tale might have had even more menace, and deserved its classification as a crime novel, if the perpetrators had not been revealed so early in the book. As it is, the enjoyment lies in the inevitability of it all and a classification of horror is perhaps more deserved, possessing, as it does in spades, a fine feeling of a pretty, rural place and the hell that lurks within, in the best horror tradition. Great fun, and very readable.

The Book

Simon & Schuster UK
August 2006
Trade Paperback
Gothic/Crime - Contemporary & late 19th century - Cheshire, UK
More at US || UK
NOTE: Some sex and violence

The Reviewer

Rachel A Hyde
Reviewed 2006
© 2006