As you may have noticed ghosts/horror stories are one of the few genres I don't do. Oh, I was a vivid reader of people like Stephen King and James Herbert as a teenager but somewhere along the line I became a scaredy pants and found myself unable to read them without the necessity of sleeping with the light on for as we all know keeping the light on keeps the Bogey man at bay and stops anything bad from happening, as, according to Terry Pratchett's Discworld books, does keeping a blue blanket at the ready.
Anyway, as one of my reading groups were reading what was billed as a ghost story I decided to take the plunge and join them - after all what was the worst that could happen other than a larger than usual electricity bill?
DARK MATTER: A GHOST STORY by MICHELLE PAVER.
London, 1937, Jack is poor, lonely and desperate to change his life, so when he's offered the chance to join an Arctic expedition, he jumps at it. Spirits are high as the ship leaves Norway and at last they reach the remote, uninhabited bay where they will camp for the next year.
But the Arctic summer is brief. As night returns to claim the land, Jack feels a creeping unease. One by one, his companions are forced to leave. Soon Jack will see the last of the sun, the sea will freeze and escape will be impossible.
And Jack is not alone. Something walks there in the dark .....
...... Inner front cover.
FIRST SENTENCE (Chapter 1): It's all over, I'm not going.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 40): He said what I'd taken for gulls were kittiwakes, and that the Vikings believed their cries were the wails of lost souls.
MY THOUGHTS: Though there was certainly a ghostly element to this novel, I'm not too sure if I'd label it as a ghost story per se.
Atmospheric, brooding, darkly unsettling, menacing and psychologically tense, (I could go on) this is one novel that I dare bet will have you covered in goosebumps, the hairs on your arms standing on edge.
Gripped from the moment the group sets sail, the author takes us on a wonderfully spine-chilling journey through a landscape that is both inhospitable as well as malevolent.
It isn't only this element of the story that will keep you captivated though ....... the relationship between Jack and his fellow explorers is also well written as is Jack's growing relationship with husky dog Isaak.
KEEP IT OR NOT?: A reading group read, I would like a copy of this for our shelves.