Some horror books are very easy to classify, some like this book are slightly harder to so. On the surface this book could be described as a simple straight forward supernatural tale full of horrific images and horrific set pieces. However, scratch below the surface of this well written book and you will find a much darker world. A world where the horror comes not from burning men and menacing Estates, but from the horror of one man's descent into a personal hell and his journey back up through redemption.
The Estate's anti-hero Sam O'Donnell, and let us be clear here he is an anti hero, is a wonderful creation on which this whole book is perfectly hinged on. Sam really is a vile man, a junkie in a suit with a very loose set of moral guidelines, he is the sort of man, who has really no redeeming qualities, with perhaps the exception of the his love for his wife. In the hands of a lesser writer Sam's character would be a hindrance to the book's narrative. It would have been all to easy to him a one dimensional caricature, but Craig Saunders has obviously put a lot of time and effort into turning Sam into a living and breathing character.
So when Sam suffers a combined heart attack and stroke, his life is thrown into maelstrom of heart wrenching proportions. Here we see the Sam, a man broken by the death of his daughter, a man whose love for his wife is deep and great that it left him unable to communicate his grief to her. So after the heart attack they decide to move away from London to a seemingly idyllic estate by the sea, in an attempt to heal both Sam's body and their life together.
At first everything seems perfect, but slowly and surely the veil is pulled away and the true nature and true terror of The Estate is revealed.
As I said at the start of this review The Estate is much more than a horror story, this is a story about life, love, the loss of a child, and above all regret. Craig Saunders expertly weaves these emotional threads through the horror narrative to create a horror novel full of emotion and heart. Saunders has grounded this story in sympathy, and by the time you have finished reading this story you will have fully understood what it was like to have suffered exactly what sam suffered in this book.
File Under Horror Novel Review