#BookReview: The Lingering by S.J.I Holliday @SJIHolliday @OrendaBooks @AnneCater #TheLingering

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About the Book

Married couple Jack and Ali Gardiner move to a self-sufficient commune in the English Fens, desperate for fresh start. The local village is known for the witches who once resided there and Rosalind House, where the commune has been established, is a former psychiatric home, with a disturbing history.
When Jack and Ali arrive, a chain of unexpected and unexplained events is set off, and it becomes clear that they are not all that they seem. As the residents become twitchy, and the villagers suspicious, events from the past come back to haunt them, and someone is seeking retribution…
At once an unnerving locked-room mystery, a chilling thriller and a dark and superbly wrought ghost story, The Lingering is an exceptionally plotted, terrifying and tantalisingly twisted novel by one of the most exciting authors in the genre.

My Thoughts

The Lingering is a novel about Jack and Ali, who are moving to a commune that has been set up in an old psychiatric hospital. I felt that there was something a bit off about Jack and Ali as soon as I started reading this novel but I couldn’t put my finger on what it was. Neither of them were particularly likeable from the start but I loved finding out more about who they are and why they are at the commune. Ali is abrasive; she seems to want to fit in but at the same time doesn’t seem to want to make any effort to get on with people. Jack seems to want to make things work at the commune but he struggles with it.

The novel is told in two timelines: in the present day with Jack and Ali and the other members of the commune, and in 1955 through diary entries by a doctor who was investigating the way patients were being treated at the asylum. This makes for a fascinating read, seeing things in both timelines and wondering if one time strand connects to anything happening in the present.

I really loved the way this novel was written. There are members of the commune who firmly believe the house is haunted and one resident, Angela, is on a mission to find proof of the ghosts. I was apprehensive reading this book because I’ve lived in what seemed be a haunted house when I was younger and there were some really odd things that happened there that seemed to be without logical explanation. The clever thing about The Lingering is that it can be seen as a ghost story but it can also be seen as a novel about people who are under a lot of stress and beginning to lose their sense of reality. Some things can be explained either way and other things are so unsettling as your brain begins to mull over which it can possible be. It’s the way that ghosts can be considered a supernatural element doomed to forever be in the old psychiatric hospital, or they could be the mind’s manifestation of what people expect to experience to be in a building such as this. Perhaps the building has just absorbed all the lingering pain and sadness from an earlier time.

There is a real look at coercion and control throughout The Lingering and this was fascinating. I loved the psychological elements and discovering how a character has been coerced and why, but away from this storyline it also fitted in to how what we believe can have such an impact on how we view a situation.

There was so much more in this novel than I was expecting and I loved that it genuinely shocked me when the reveals start to come. It’s not often that I don’t see what’s coming in a novel but this one had me reeling on more than one occasion! I have to be honest and say that I don’t usually like reading scary books but The Lingering is so compelling that even when I was feeling really unnerved I just had to keep reading, I simply had to know what was going on! That’s the mark of a great book – when it keeps you hooked even when you want to hide behind the sofa!

The Lingering is a brilliant novel that has so many levels to it. There are twists and turns, and it is creepy at times but at its heart it’s a look at the psychology of what makes us think the way we do and how easily, and unwittingly, we can be drawn into someone else’s twisted web. I loved this book and I keep finding myself thinking about it even thought it’s now weeks since I read it. The Lingering is creepy, disturbing and utterly brilliant! I highly recommend it!

Many thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda Books for my copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

The Lingering is out now and available here.

About the Author

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S.J.I. (Susi) Holliday is a pharmaceutical statistician by day and a crime and horror fan by night. Her short stories have been published in many places and she was shortlisted for the inaugural CWA Margery Allingham prize with her story ‘Home from Home’, which was published in Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in spring 2017. She is the bestselling author of the creepy and claustrophobic Banktoun trilogy (Black Wood, Willow Walk and The Damselfly) featuring the much loved Sergeant Davie Gray, and the festive serial killer thriller The Deaths of December. Her latest psychological thriller is modern gothic with more than a hint of the supernatural, inspired by her fascination and fear of ghosts. You can follow Susi on Twitter @SJIHolliday or visit her website: sjiholliday.com.

You can find the rest of the stops on this tour at the following blogs:

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Stacking the Shelves (7 May)


(Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews, which is all about sharing the books that you’ve acquired in the past week – ebooks or physical books, and books you’ve bought or borrowed or received an ARC of.)

This week I’ve bought some new books:


Distress Signals by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Distress Signals has been on my radar for ages as I’ve seen so many book bloggers tweeting about how good it is. I pre-ordered it a couple of weeks ago so was very pleased when it arrived on my Kindle this week. I want to read it very soon, hopefully I can fit it in in-between review books.

The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Router Hapgood

This is another book that I’ve seen on quite a few book blogs in recent weeks. I love YA fiction and this one sounds like it could be a little different to others I’ve read so I’m really looking forward to it.

Saving Phoebe Morrow by Herta Feely

This was an impulse buy as I liked the cover and then when I read the synopsis it sounded great.

Willow Walk by S. J. I. Holliday

This is another of my pre-orders that arrived this week and I can’t wait to read it. It has been on an introductory offer price of 99p on Kindle so worth grabbing a copy soon if you’re interested in reading it.

Where Did I go? Rediscovering My Identity, Lost After a Traumatic Brain Injury by Polly Williamson 

This was an Amazon recommendation and I decided to buy it as I’m very interested in reading these kind of memoirs at the moment due to my own medical situation. I didn’t have a brain injury, but I still suspect that I will be able to relate to a lot of this book. I definitely want to read this very soon.

Books I got in the Kindle sale:

Where They Found Her by Kimberley McCreight

This book has been on my wish list for a while but I’ve been unsure whether to buy it or not so when I saw it in the sale I decided to give it a go.

The Truth and Other Lies by Sascha Arango

This is my other sale purchase from this week. I’ll be honest and admit that I bought it because the title has me very intrigued, it seemed worth a punt for 99p. I still haven’t read the synopsis as I quite like the idea of starting this knowing nothing about it.

Books I got as part of my Kindle Unlimited Subscription:

Blood Defense by Marcia Clark

This was one of the books in the Kindle First (where you get to choose one book free from a selection of six as part of Amazon Prime membership) offer in April and I was torn between this book and another one, and in the end I chose the other one. So I was really pleased when this then went into Kindle Unlimited!

Weekend Immune System by Holly Tierney-Bedford

I saw this book reviewed on a blog this week and immediately went to grab a copy. This is a like the choose  your own adventure stories that were around when I was a child, and I loved those books, so I couldn’t resist this one. Apparently there are quite a few endings and not all are happy so I can’t wait to read this!

How To Throw Your Life Away by Laurie Ellingham

This is another book that I’ve seen favourably reviewed on quite a few blogs in recent weeks so I decided to download a copy on my Kindle.

Books I received for review:


SockPuppet by Matthew Blakstad

I requested this on Net Galley this week (I’m supposed to be on a self-imposed ban but this showed up on the front page when I logged in to give feedback on another book so I couldn’t resist it!) as it’s a book I’ve been so keen to read. I think it’s due to be published in a couple of weeks so I’m going to try and read and review it either before or around publication day.

Last Light by C. J. Lyons

I was thrilled to be offered a copy of this for review as I’ve seen bloggers I trust recommending it so really wanted to read it too. I’ll be reading this quite soon.

Cold Calling by Russell Mardell

I received a lovely email from the author of this book a couple of days ago asking if I’d like to review his book. I jumped at the chance as I’ve seen this book being talked about on social media and it sounded like one I’d really enjoy. I really hope I can read this soon, it’s one I’m really looking forward to.

So, that’s all of my new books from the past week. Have you bought any new books recently? Tell me all in the comments below, or if you have a stacking the shelves post on your blog feel free to post the link below too.:)

My weekly wrap up post will be on my blog tomorrow so please look out for that.