The Sickness

A husband confronted by his jealous wife . . . an old man abandoned so his grandson can claim his inheritance . . . a fifteen year-old boy disowned because of his handicap. All of them are dead. All of them have returned. And they have come for revenge. Nash is a small farming community in rural England: picturesque and serene, but it has secrets—violent, horrific, depraved secrets. Wanting to keep their business hidden, someone is not about to let James leave. But when an unexpected visitor arrives in the village searching for James, things take a horrific turn for the worst and he is forced to face the horrors of his past if he is to have any hope of survival.

In the small village of Nash Grahame Harris is woken by noises outside his farmhouse.  What he discovers as he goes to investigate is beyond comprehension and is the last thing he ever sees before dying horrifically.

The only reason for James Harris’ continued existence and going through the ordeal that is his life, is his Goth teenage daughter, Ruth. He has her to stay at weekends, but she turns up at his house unexpectedly one Thursday, which breaches his custody agreement. He’s more than glad to see her, all the same. When he receives a phone call from his estranged sister, Laura, informing him of the murder of their parents, long-buried and distressing emotions begin to surface. After taking his daughter to school the next morning, James very reluctantly begins his journey to Nash to attend the funeral.

Unbeknownst to James Ruth had skipped school and was even now back at his house. Curious to know why her dad didn’t want company on the trip, or her to be anywhere near the village, and why he never talked about his boyhood, Ruth decides on a course of action that will have repercussions beyond imagining.

With a sigh she placed the drink carefully on the coffee table and hurried down the corridor, pausing outside his bedroom door. Ruth glanced down, pursed her lips, and wondered if this was such a good idea. She’s never snooped around in her father’s bedroom before, and a twinge of guilt held her at the doorway for a moment. Shaking her head, Ruth tried the handle and her heart picked up rhythm as the lock released and the door moved in the frame.

She took a deep breath, stepped into the bedroom, and hoped her father would forgive her if he ever found out.

The horror is evident from the start of the book, beginning as it does with someone raising a corpse from the grave. The depressing and sombre atmosphere of Nash as the backdrop for the story sets the scene for what is to come. The identity of the culprit, and reason for the bringing corpses back to life to take revenge, is the mysterious thread running through the dark and gruesome story.

Facts about James’ traumatic childhood and teenage years are revealed slowly, by degrees, until I couldn’t help but think his parents got their just deserts. I liked James and Ruth very much, their relationship and love for each other is wonderful, so well defined. The rest of the characters, although unsympathetic and impossible to like, are very well drawn and so easy to picture, even if that picture isn’t a very pleasant one. Dylan Morgan is a very descriptive and skilful writer. I love how the suspense builds steadily right up to the intense and completely unexpected ending. Great cover, too.

Rosie's Book Review Challengers 1Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

This book is reviewed for Rosie Amber‘s book review team and is based on a digital ARC from the author. This does not affect my opinion or the content of this review.

About the author

DJMNow living and working in Norway, Dylan J. Morgan was born in New Zealand and raised in the United Kingdom. He writes during those rare quiet moments amid a hectic family life: after dark, with limited sustenance, and when his creative essence is plagued the most by tormented visions.

If you’re searching for that light at the end of the tunnel then stop looking—you won’t find it here.

Author links ~ Website, Twitter, Goodreads

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