Published: 6 May 2011
Length: 356 pages
Warnings: profanity, violence, f/f sex scene, older readers only
Source: Author in exchange for review
Summary : How cruelty, sexual abuse and greed created this monster of a former care home Matron and the haunted hotel that hid her evil secret.
Just released from prison after their care home atrocities, former Matron, Elizabeth Waverly, and her accomplice, Norman Christie, team up and see an opportunity to inherit two million pounds. But first they have to kill the main beneficiary, Elizabeth Carragher, with Elizabeth Waverly taking on her identity. At the reading of the will they see their plans back fire when a second will is found and a long lost brother, Victor Carragher, turns up and claims it all.
Salvaging what they can, they plan to kidnap the brother's young precocious daughter, Helen, for half the inheritance.
Before the kidnap can be arranged, Victor Carragher, a hotel manager, very quickly fulfils a life long ambition and moves to Majorca with his daughter, and new found wealth, to buy his own hotel. The killing couple follow him with Elizabeth Waverly still in disguise helping Victor run the hotel. But unbeknown to them the hotel he purchases is haunted.
What follows is a series of terrifying events including flashbacks of the main characters, the breakdown of their early family lives and how cruelty, abuse and greed, installed with a liberally wielded trouser belt, can manifest itself later like a cancer on their morals.
Review: this the a story of Elizabeth Waverly and Norman. They’ve been released from prison after killing residents at a care home. And they see a way of inheriting two million pounds. To do this, they kill Elizabeth Carragher and Elizabeth W (hereafter known as Liz W) takes Carragher’s place. Liz W turns up at the will reading, and finds a long lost brother, Victor Carragher, has inherited all the stuff. determined to inherit everything, Liz W and Norman hatch a plan that will take them to Majorca, hauntings and a lot of twists and turns.
The blurb I’ve given you is blocked out (N/A if you’re reading this on goodreads or Amazon---If on the blog, you can highlight the block to read the full thing) for a good reason. The blurb off goodreads gives away so much.
I wasn’t really a fan of the start. It dragged on a fair bit and the fact there were two Elizabeths was really confusing. However, once it got started, it really did get going properly.
Liz W and Norman, while I never really liked them, I understood their motives and characters perfectly. As more people are killed off, the pace really gets going, but I never lost control of where I was in terms of who was alive and who was dead. The little minor characters got a lot of backstory, a nice touch.
I definitely recognised the Stephen King references. Somebody’s mother in particular was essentially Margaret White, I think the name was (Carrie’s mother) and I’m sure there were many more.
The ending was great. it’s a Halloween party and an illusion involving a guillotine and I just kept wanting to read on and on by then.
The plot twists were really good, unexpected and really good fun. The ending was generally satisfying and I can’t wait for Smythe’s next novel-a more indepth look at Liz W’s history.
Overall: Strength 3 tea to a good book that, once it’s pulled you in after 50 pages or so, keeps you there.