The Influence by Ramsey Campbell ★★★★☆
Published: 24th October 2019 Publisher: Flame Tree Press
Format: Hardcover, Kindle, Paperback, Audio Genre: Horror
Queenie is the ageing matriarch of the Faraday family, and even death can’t break her hold over her eleven-year-old granddaughter Rowan.
She’s buried with a locket that contains a lock of Rowan’s hair, and soon afterwards Rowan is befriended by a mysterious uncannily intelligent girl of her own age.
Only her aunt Hermione suspects how sinister this is, but will retrieving the locket save her niece?
By the time anyone sees what effect the ghostly influence on Rowan is having, it may be too late for her.
If the child who takes her place in the family isn’t Rowan, Rowan may be somewhere else not quite like our world…
Firstly I need to start this review off by saying that until I picked up this book I had not up to that point actually been scared by a horror book.
This story changed all that for me! I was seriously freaked out by Queenie's character and even put it down when I went to bed instead of my usual reading upstairs because I was spooked so much..
The story starts with Alison. A nurse who lives with her husband and daughter, Rowan in her aunt Queenie's house by the sea.
Struggling with money they are offered to go and live with the ageing aunt to help with money and to also help out around the large depleting house.
Queenie, who's real name is Victoria and was nicknamed Queenie by her father has lived in the house her entire life, she is old, rude and considers herself the matriarch of the family. Hermoine, Alisons younger sister has always believed she is evil and has evil powers as she used to threaten her as a child.
Something is not right with Queenie and she seems to be able to control things around her, Alison goes up to the top floor of the house to see her aunt, the room is always dark and has stacks of stale books everywhere. Queenie demands that she brings Rowan to see her but Alison refuses as she is hesitant to have the child around her, remembering her own eerie childhood. she would much rather keep her away but Queenie does not allow this and tells her she will get to her herself, with this all of a sudden the door slams and wedges so Alison is trapped and queen starts bucking and screaming on the bed... then she dies, her face all contorted and staring at the ceiling, Alison can only wait in the dark for someone to come home and let her out, forever feeling like if she turns around she will see queens distorted face behind her even though she knows she is lying on the bed.
At the funeral Hermoine realises that Queenie has been buried with a locket of Rowans hair, this deeply upsets her and try to warn everyone, but no one will listen as they all think it is just silly superstition.
But before long Rowan meets a girl called Vicky on the beach and they start a bizarre friendship, Vicky starts to influence Rowan into doing things and dark unexplained things keep happening, members of the family who also had dark thoughts about queen disappear and soon rowan finds herself caught in a situation she did not see coming....
This is all I can really write as I do not want to give anything away.
Ramsey is an amazing horror writer and this chilling tale kept me on the edge the whole way through, if you like to be scared then I highly recommend this read.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ramsey Campbell was born in Liverpool in 1946 and still lives on Merseyside.
The Oxford Companion to English Literature describes him as “Britain’s most respected living horror writer”.
He has been given more awards than any other writer in the field, including the Grand Master Award of the World Horror Convention, the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Horror Writers Association, the Living Legend Award of the International Horror Guild and the World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.
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