This is a slow-burn creepy horror/thriller set in the UK’s Lake District. The setting plays a big part of the story here – it’s beautiful, ominous, old, mysterious.

But let’s start at the beginning. Ashley Whitelam is a psychic, and yes she cheats money out of the vulnerable with an earpiece and a voice in her ear when she performs her shows. But she also really sees things – The Heedful Ones – and when she looks into a recent disappearance to help out the police, they lead her straight to the body of a little boy… But can she really help solve this thing?

As readers, we follow two timelines. One in 2004 when a much younger Ashley experienced some trauma in a big country house in the same area, and one ‘now’. I sometimes get frustrated when information is held back from the reader (ie the ramifications of the earlier timeline) but it is handled well here.

In the present, Ashley is in her 30s and I think one of the challenges here for reader and author is that she lives in an incredibly toxic family environment – at times one can’t help think, why on earth hasn’t she left by now? She’s a grown woman! But I think the past timeline as well as the present show the way this situation has developed over time – so it’s very nearly believable that she would still be there.

I don’t read a lot of horror thrillers, but I really enjoyed the slow build of the creepiness in this title. I’ve read Jen Williams before and she excels at doing this. I also really like how she uses the setting of her books to full impact – so many (albeit domestic) thrillers are set in ‘generic town’, whereas this story takes place somewhere that feels solid and real – even with all the supernatural element!

I found the plot and resolution satisfying – I did begin to guess where it might go towards the end, but not all of it, which was a nice surprise.

A wonderfully atmospheric read.