Ginger Nuts of Horror
In his debut novel Ghost Hunters, Neil Spring introduced us to the fabulous Harry Price and his intrepid assistant Sarah Grey, and their investigations into the spooky going events at Borley Rectory. Ghost Hunters was an intense debut novel and a great addition to the classic British ghost story. Harry and Sarah return to investigate further spooky going ons in The Lost Village, despite the events that occurred in Ghost Hunters, the once mighty duo have now gone their separate ways, can they overcome their differences and get to the root of the problem in The Lost Village?
The Lost Village as with Ghost Hunters uses a real-life haunting legend as the framework to hang another gripping story from. This time Spring uses the village of Imber situated in the middle of the Salisbury Plain, which has, as in real life, been taken over by the army to be used as a military training base, with the locals being thrown out, only allowed to return once a year to tend the graves of their loved ones.
But something is stirring in Imber. Something which has the army spooked, lights have been seen above the village, things are moving in the mist, and something so terrible that it causes one soldier to set fire to themselves to escape the horror, something so awful that only Price and Grey can unlock the secret of the lost village.
As with the first appearance of Price and Grey, one the main strengths of The Lost Village is the Spring's gift for grounding the novel. The meticulous amount of research combined with Spring's deft narrative voice allows the reader to become fully immersed in not only the novel's story but also the era in which the book exists. There is nothing worse in a period story than the inability to believe that the story you are reading is set in the period of the story. Spring uses some techniques to ensure that integrity of the era is preserved, such as the use of period-specific language, and the subtle use of "pop culture references". These might seem like simple things, but Spring has repeatedly shown, throughout his three novels, a masterful gift for scene setting a period integrity.
While The Lost Village is a stand-alone novel and can be in its own right, you would be doing yourself a slight disservice if you don't read Ghost Hunters beforehand. The reason for this is excellent interplay and relationship dynamics between Price and Grey. Imagine Holmes and Watson with a slice of sexual frisson, and you would be pretty much on track as to how this pair reacts with each other. However, their relationship is now somewhat strained due to the events in their previous outing, and while their relationship here is still a joy to read and at times electrifying, it does help to have a more rounded and expanded account of how they came to be from the first book.
Spring keeps the majority of the plot under tight wraps for the majority of the novel, keeping the reader second guessing and hopping from one wrong foot to the other. Dropping breadcrumbs of hints and clues like a teasing Hansel and Gretal, Spring keeps the reader hooked through the length of the narrative. Stylistically, The Lost Village can be classified alongside such greats as The Woman in Black and Awakening; this is a classic British ghost, filled with subtle atmospheric dread, peppered with moments of shocking terror to keep the reader on their toes. Spring's ingenious mix of fact and fiction makes for a fascinating read, the blurring of lines between the real village of Imber and the fictional one of this novel turns this book into a somewhat unique reading experience.
The Lost Village is a modern Gothic masterpiece, ghostly going on, mingling with secrets and lies, in a bleak British landscape all combine to make one thrilling and fulfilling read.
A haunting and spooky thriller, with an unforgettable twist!
The remote village of Imber - remote, lost and abandoned. The outside world hasn't been let in since soldiers forced the inhabitants out, much to their contempt.
But now, a dark secret threatens all who venture near. Everyone is in danger, and only Harry Price can help. Reluctantly reunited with his former assistant Sarah Grey, he must unlock the mystery of Imber, and unsurface the secrets someone thought were long buried. But will Sarah's involvement be the undoing of them both?