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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

Looking Glass Sound

Narrators: Christopher Ragland,

Katherine Fenton

ISBN: 9781250882561

Publisher: Macmillan Audio

Tor Nightfire

Publication Date: 08/08/2023

Format: Audiobook

My Rating: 3.5 Stars (ARC)

"If you love the novels of Shirley Jackson, Patricia Highsmith, and Tana French, here’s your next obsession.”―Kelly Link, author of White Cat, Black Dog

From Catriona Ward, author of The Last House on Needless Street, comes a masterful story about friendship and betrayal, dark obsessions, and the impossibility of escaping your own story.

In a cottage overlooking the windswept Maine coast, Wilder Harlow has begun the last book he will ever write.

It is the story about the sun-drenched summer days of his youth in Whistler Bay, and the blood-stained path of the killer that stalked his small vacation town. About the terrible secret he and his companions, Nat and Harper, discovered entombed in the coves off the bay. And how the pact they swore that day echoed down the decades, forever shaping their lives.

But the more Wilder writes, the less he trusts himself and his memory. He starts to see things that can’t be real – notes hidden in his cupboards, from an old friend now dead; a woman with dark hair drowning in the icy waters below, calling for help; entire chapters he doesn’t recall typing, appearing overnight. Who, or what, is haunting Wilder?

No longer able to trust his own eyes, Wilder begins to fear that this will not only be his last book, but the last thing he ever does.

“An origami puzzle of a book, the mystery so beautifully crafted you don’t see the folds, with edges sharp as a paper cut.”―Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

My Review

From the author of The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial, Catriona Ward returns with LOOKING GLASS SOUND, an enigmatic mind-bending twisty psychological horror novel.

A book within a book—where the lines are blurred between fact and fiction— and one man’s struggle to come to terms with the terrors of his past.

We meet Wilder Harlow and his parents, who have inherited a cottage from his late Uncle Vernon on Looking Glass Sound near Castine in Maine. The family decides to spend the Summer there before deciding whether to sell.

Wilder was a sixteen-year-old with high hopes of the Summer changing his life. There he meets two friends. Nathaniel and Harper. Nathaniel is a handsome boy, the son of a local fisherman, and Harper is a little wild British redhead from an affluent family. The trio bonds during the magical summer and promises to return each year.

These relationships will change his life. Wilder is infatuated with Harper. Wilder also looks up to Nathaniel. The three are close that first Summer.

There is also a mystery in the rural New England Town. A serial killer is known as the Dagger Man of Whistler Bay. He makes threatening Polaroid photos of children as they sleep. Wilder’s summer becomes linked to the story of the Dagger Man, as his friendships and his parent's troubled marriage are shattered.

Trying to cope with the trauma, he meets the outgoing Sky Montague, an aspiring author who wants to be Wilder's roommate. What is his motive? Does he want to be his friend, or is he trying to gather information about the Whistler Bay murders?

A book within a book; later, he returns to the cottage to write a book he started years ago. We met him in 1989 via his unpublished memoir. As a reader or listener, you are unsure where this story is headed, and the second half weaves even more layers. What is true, and what is fiction? A maze, a puzzle, a mystery. Who, or what, is haunting Wilder?

Spellbinding! Genre-bending, deeply unsettling, and creepy—LOOKING GLASS SOUND blends a multi-layered mix of literary fiction, Gothic, horror, mystery, and psychological thriller.

Hauntingly dark and layered like nesting dolls, a maze, misdirection, horror, mysterious and intriguing storytelling blurring fact and fiction. From friendship, betrayal, grief, and dark obsessions, LOOKING GLASS SOUND would be enjoyable for Stephen King and Dean Koontz fans.

I listened to the audiobook narrated by Christopher Ragland and Katherine Fenton for a creepy, spine-chilling listening experience.

Thanks to Macmillan Audio for a gifted ALC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

@JudithDCollins | #JDCMustReadBooks

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Pub Date: Aug 8, 2023


A LibraryReads Hall of Fame Pick!

“Looking Glass Sound is my favorite Catriona Ward novel yet, which is saying something. There are twists and turns here that even the most jaded reader will find hard to predict. If you love the novels of Shirley Jackson, Patricia Highsmith, and Tana French, here’s your next obsession.”

―Kelly Link, author of White Cat, Black Dog

“An evocative, bone-chilling read, exploring grief, storytelling, and the dark forces of obsession. Ward’s writing is complex, challenging, and beautiful in equal measure. A tale to savor.”

―Sarah Pearse, New York Times bestselling author of The Sanatorium

“I loved every irresistible, beautifully written story powered by dread and fascination with the unknown.”

―A. J. Finn, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Woman in the Window

“Ward’s latest may be her scariest yet.”

―Booklist, STARRED review

“The prose is lyrically metaphorical, taking readers into the story as if they’re shadows of the characters. This is a book about a book, inside a book―an intricate plot with changing perspectives. Reading it is like walking through a maze of wrong turns and misdirection.”

―Library Journal, STARRED review

"Nearly every sentence is faultless, gutting and precise. Come for the family secrets but stay for the humanity, tenderness, and empathy that are so central to Ward’s storytelling. This book will truly haunt you long after you read it."

―Olivie Blake, New York Times bestselling author of The Atlas Six

"In the right hands, narrative can be a kaleidoscope, fracturing into more and more wondrous configurations. I think maybe Catriona Ward spilled a little blood into her kaleidoscope with this one."

―Stephen Graham Jones, New York Times bestselling author of The Only Good Indians

“With prose of poetic clarity, Looking Glass Sound reveals secret after secret in a structure as intricate and insidiously enmeshing as a cobweb. Haunting, disturbing and beautiful, it's a truly extraordinary book. I think it may well be a masterpiece.”

―Ramsey Campbell

"Devastatingly beautiful, bone-chilling and enchanting. Looking Glass Sound is further proof that no one writes like Catriona Ward. No one conjures such heartbreak from such raw fear. An alchemist of storytelling."

―Chris Whitaker, New York Times bestselling author of We Begin At the End

"Ward's books are each potent, dark, immersive, and surprising. Looking Glass Sound is a frightening nesting doll of a novel about ghosts and monsters, trauma and loss, and the specific aching intensity of teenage friendships. Perhaps most of all, it's a book about stories-and their ability to save or destroy the teller. You'll stay up all night wandering the labyrinth Ward has deftly constructed."

―Katie Gutierrez, bestselling author of More Than You'll Ever Know

“This twisted tale of ghosts and murderers, derailed lives and childhood traumas is a vertical labyrinth that will take you straight down into the heart of darkness. Enthralling and heartbreaking.”

―M. R. Carey, author of The Girl with All the Gifts

“I couldn’t tear myself away. Looking Glass Sound is slyly addictive. Falling into a Catriona Ward book means knowing you'll be caught and never let go. Unconventional, imaginative, and brazenly twisted.”

―Hailey Piper, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of No Gods for Drowning

"Ward is a master of tugging at the strings of a deeply personal story until she's woven them into an epic, terrifying, multi-generational web. Looking Glass Sound is haunting and immersive. I loved getting caught up in it."

―Chuck Tingle, author of Camp Damascus

"You’ve read nothing like it before.... Impossibly compelling, brilliantly plotted, and incredibly moving all at once. I think at this point we can all just agree to follow Ward wherever she takes us.” ―Virginia Feito, author of Mrs. March

“The dread rises like a saltwater tide in a claustrophobic cave. Looking Glass Sound is a mesmerizing and haunting performance of a novel.”

―Lavie Tidhar, author of By Force Alone

“Ward dazzles with her ability to deliver satisfying narrative surprises at nearly every turn.” ―Publishers Weekly

"Ward is an inspired spider and Looking Glass Sound is her most masterful web yet. And we, dear readers, are nothing more than mere flies happily trapped within the pages of this brilliantly intricate novel."

―Clay McLeod Chapman, author of Ghost Eaters

"Readers will question every word as Ward expertly weaves together an enigmatic story of friendship, young love, obsession, and horror."


“A blisteringly smart portrait of the tortuous ways a story can take on its own life. Surprising, moving, and sophisticated.”

―Megan Shepherd, New York Times bestselling author of Malice House

“An origami puzzle of a book, the mystery so beautifully crafted you don’t see the folds, with edges sharp as a paper cut. I loved it.”

―Lauren Beukes, author of The Shining Girls

“Looking Glass Sound is a wonderful piece of Gothic sleight-of-hand. A beautifully sinister tale of perception and identity that had me enthralled from the first page.”

―Joanne Harris, author of Chocolat

"Unbelievably good.... so clever, so haunting and melancholic. It's so beautiful, so dark, and so vivid."

—Jennifer Saint, author of Ariadne

"Totally stunning. ...At its heart a book about the madness of story telling, possession and grief. I loved it!"

―Araminta Hall, author of Imperfect Women

“Put simply, Looking Glass Sound is a multilayered masterpiece of speculative fiction and proof that a horror novel can reach the greatest of literary heights.”

―Grimdark Magazine

"So, so brilliant. Absolutely Ward's best yet. Her characters, the way she weaves together all the storylines, the reveals - all of them top notch, brilliantly done, and all while my heart was literally banging out of my chest."

―Lisa Hall, author of The Perfect Couple

Also by Catriona Ward:

  • The Last House on Needless Street

  • Sundial

  • Little Eve

About the Author

photo credit: Robert Hollingworth

CATRIONA WARD was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in the United States, Kenya, Madagascar, Yemen, and Morocco. She studied English at the University of Oxford and later earned her master’s degree in creative writing at the University of East Anglia. Ward is a three-time winner of the August Derleth Award for Best Horror Novel: for The Girl from Rawblood, her debut; Little Eve; and The Last House on Needless Street. Little Eve also won the Shirley Jackson Award for Best Novel. Ward is the international bestselling author of The Last House on Needless Street and Sundial. WEBSITE







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