Judith D Collins
The Visitors: A Dark and Chilling Suspense
By: Catherine Burns
Publisher: Legend Press
Publication Date: 10/3/2017
My Rating: 2.5 Stars (ARC) ‘Once you start Catherine Burns’s dark, disturbing, and enthralling debut novel, it’s hard to stop. The Visitors is bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.’ Iain Reid, Internationally Bestselling Author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.
Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.
As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn't the only one with a dark side.
When I think of THE VISITORS by Catherine Burns, here is what comes to mind. "Aren't You A Ray Of Pitch Black.” Crossing over to the dark side, deeply disturbing, and ideal for lovers of freaky Halloween, Meet the brother and sister duo. Marion and John. John is an Oxford graduate. Domineering. Neither married and in their fifties. A monster. Marion was only eight years old when she discovered she was plain. She rarely saw other children outside of school. She was fat, people made fun of her. Now she takes orders from her brother. The parents are now deceased and the brother and sister live in the old dilapidated mansion on Grange Road, a once beautiful Georgian house now cluttered and in decay. John has visitors in the cellar. Marion has no clue what goes on the cellar and does not want to know. She is in denial. John orders her around and she obeys. He is family and all she has. She knows there are women visitors. The McDonalds and the Mercedes. John says they are coming so he can teach them things. She knows she hears screams. The lies we tell ourselves because the truth is too painful to bear. Denial works better. She still hears her mother's voices. The mention of the cellar made Marion feel as though little spiders were crawling across her skin. She tells people he uses the cellar for his hobby of building model planes. Marion likes her own pretend and imaginary world. This is where she feels safe with her books and teddy bears. However, when John takes sick and has to go to the hospital, Marion is left to take care of THE VISITORS. She has no clue what she will find when she goes down the steps. She is shocked. Even though disgusted, Marion learns something about herself. Marion comes face to face with the truth. She becomes her own person. She sees her brother is a monster. She may have her own darkness. Wacky and crazy, dark and disturbing. I am sure the book may appeal to certain readers; however, for me, "not my cup of tea." No interesting characters here. Gloom and doom. Been reading too many dark and depressive books lately. Think I will switch to some lighter, funnier, and richer stories which speak to the heart. Possibly some inspiring non-fiction. Thank you to Legend Press and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. 2.5 Stars
Atmospheric, eerie and affecting. Catherine Burns has created a complex and chilling world in which nothing is as it seems. A very clever confident novel, beautifully plotted with multiple twists and turns. I couldn't stop reading it.' — Suellen Dainty
"Burns blurs the line between crime fiction and horror... Deliberate pacing, a claustrophobic setting, and vivid, wildly unsympathetic characters complement the twisted plot and grim conclusion' — Publishers Weekly
'Burns combines a study of a middle-aged woman, a tale of a highly dysfunctional family and slow burn of a mystery, creating a compelling read that's at once highly entertaining and wholly disturbing ... A dark and thrilling debut novel: disturbing, gripping, and hugely impressive' — Luke Marlowe, The Bookbag
‘A compellingly creepy tale of twisted loyalty and dark family secrets, full of a slow-building suspense and a horribly fascinating sense of the macabre.’ — TM Logan
'I would advise any nail biters to sit on their hands while reading this book because they will chew right down to the knuckle. By far the creepiest novel I have read in a long time and I mean that in a really good way ... A highly original and intriguing mystery so compelling that I abandoned my own work to finish it' — Liz Nugent
'A powerful book. It delves into the inner and outer workings of the lonely mind. Equal parts creepy and thought-provoking, the characters will leap off the page, whether you want them to or not' — Michelle Berry and Erin Twohey, Hunter Street Books, Peterborough
'Completely up my street. I love a chilling tale that allows you to really get under the skin of the characters. It was compelling and wonderfully dark, choked with suspense and yet leisurely in the telling. I enjoyed it immensely' — Emma Curtis
'A dark exploration of evil in its many forms, this is an uncomfortable and disturbing yet utterly compelling read' —Susi Holliday
'A dark, compelling story with a few twists and turns that will keep the reader glued to the pages ... I found myself completely engrossed in Marion's disturbing world ... A very strong debut' — Sarah Denzil, author of Saving April
'An insidious, creepy novel, with a slow burn that leads to a horrifying revelation' Lit Hub.com, 6 Crime Must-reads Coming this September
'A dark, powerful study of troubled minds, laced through with pure dread and horror. A disturbing and addictive read... I loved it!' — KL Slater
About the Author
Born in Manchester, Catherine Burns is a graduate of the University of Cambridge. She worked as a bond trader in London before studying at the Moscow Institute of Film and teaching film theory at Salford University. The Visitors is her debut novel. Read More