Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Creepy Scottish Mystery Offers a Shivery Spring Thrill

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

After her mother dies, London tv producer Ailsa Calder inherits an imposing home in the Scottish Highlands known as the Manse.  Although she lived in the house as a young child, the place gives Ailsa the creeps.  Big time.  Ailsa can feel it watching her, eyeing her every move with sinister intentions.  Even the local wildlife and neighborhood pets refuse to set foot on the property.  The townspeople whisper about the haunted Manse, saying it's a strange, in-between place where time moves differently.  Crazy as it sounds, Ailsa almost believes them.  If she had inherited the entire house, she would sell it without hesitation, but the other half belongs to her father—and he's been missing for 27 years.  Before she can unload her unsettling inheritance, Ailsa has to prove her dad is dead.

For convenience's sake, Ailsa decides to live in the Manse while preparing the paperwork necessary to sell the old pile.  Carrie, the half-sister Ailsa barely knows, becomes her erstwhile roommate.  As the two women get to know each other and the locals—some of whom are kind and welcoming, others of whom view the sisters with suspicion and distrust—it soon becomes apparent that the Manse isn't the only entity that wishes Ailsa harm ...

I'm sure it's more than evident by now that I love me a shivery mystery/thriller featuring an ominous, atmospheric backdrop; an eerie old house; and a dusty old skeleton (literal or otherwise) hiding in a closet, just waiting to be discovered.  The Missing Hours by Lexie Elliott has all this and more.  It's a compelling and engrossing page-turner that offers mystery, suspense, and a hint of the supernatural.  The plot is a teensy bit slow, but I didn't mind that a bit.  The Missing Hours held my attention, keeping me feeling slightly off-kilter (in a good way) throughout.  I didn't love Elliott's debut, The French Girl, but her sophomore attempt is much, much more to my liking.  I very much enjoyed this creepy, entertaining novel.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of books by Carol Goodman, Jennifer McMahon, and Hester Fox)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, blood/gore, references to illegal drug use, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Missing Hours from the generous folks at Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

5 comments:

  1. I really enjoyed this one too! And I liked it more than her first book. I can't wait for her 3rd book!

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  2. Wouldn't you love to inherit an old house like this? Even a haunted one? I know I would! Sigh. Guess I'll just have to read this book instead. ;D

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  3. I don't think this one would be a good fit me for me! I dislike books that give me creepy, scary chills. I usually dream about what I've been reading before bed, and I don't want to give myself nightmares, haha. I'm glad this one worked for you!

    Lindsi @ Do You Dog-ear? 💬

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  4. I would so not stay in that house! But then, there wouldn't be a story :-)

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  5. Even though it sounds a bit creepy, it also sounds very interesting, although I would not stay in that house! Nice review Susan.

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