Firstly, huge thank you to Orion and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Letters From the Dead will be published on 26 November 2020.
I was looking for more spooky reads for this month and came across Letters From the Dead on NetGalley, it sounded just like the gothic story I was looking for and I was right. The novel is both chilling and gripping which had me eager to turn the page to find out what happens next, but I was also scared of what I would find.
Set in 1905, Letters From the Dead is a sequel to A Shadow on the Lens which deals with the aftermath of traumatic events that our protagonist, Thomas Bexley, in Wales. Since that case he has been haunted by horrific visions of the dead which has him turning to drink and losing track of the days. Whilst he’s in his drunken stupors the ‘Wraith of London’ has been terrorising the city with a series of kidnappings. Shocked to hear that the main suspect is an old, dear, friend of his, he’s determined to find out the truth for himself.
The entire novel is told from Bexley’s perspective who was a very intriguing protagonist. It was very interesting seeing the way that Bexley works through things and deals with the situation. This might sound odd, but I really enjoyed the way Bexley’s fear was written. I liked seeing how much these visions impacted him, but how he was still determined to discover the truth to what was going on. I wasn’t sure how I felt about Beatrice at first, it did take me a while to like her, but, towards the end of the novel I came to really appreciate the character.
Hurcom’s writing is great and the development of the plot was really well done. What I often find when reading horror/gothic novels is that they don’t often elicit the response of fear for me. However, Hurcom’s descriptions of some of the more horrific scenes had me feeling unsettled and grimacing as I was conjuring the images in my mind. I also liked the mystery aspect to the novel; whenever you think you’re getting closer to the truth a new twist is thrown at you to completely destroy the path you thought was the right one.
Going into this novel I didn’t realise that it was a sequel, however, I was still able to follow the novel and thought it still works great as a standalone. Whilst it would have been good to know the full story behind what happened in Wales, which is covered in the first novel, I found not knowing just added to the mystery of the whole novel.
I really enjoyed this novel and its creepy atmosphere, perfect for the spooky season or for horror/gothic literature lovers in general. I definitely recommend picking this one up when it is published on the 26 November 2020, I know I’ll be picking up the first novel as I’m very invested in Bexley’s story!