I am one of those maybe, 90 per cent of people with a perverse relationship with fear. Within reason I like to be scared. I like the frisson of the idea that something terrible could happen. But I don’t want to feel like it could actually happen. So for me, that means: rollercoasters, skydiving, scary movies with company = in; anything that makes me feel like I might drown, scary movies alone, walking home late in the dark = out. I know everyone’s buckets will be different. That’s the deal with humanity and all that.
Before I go to Sleep was pretty scary.
Right on the cusp of how scary I can actually feel like I enjoyed. I think this is due to a combination of two factors. 1. Generic scariness – this book is billed as a “satisfying thriller” (and the cover is hardly candlelight and flowers) hence, surely, it should scare anyone a little. 2. Kate bucket scariness. Because it deals with someone who has lost their memory. And as anyone who knows me well knows, I particularly fear any kind of illness where you lose full control of your life. So scary squared.
I don’t tend to read books that are billed as being scary. And I am not quote sure why this is. As a teenager I did. I think I have read every Point Horror going. But somewhere along the line, maybe, life contained enough real fear and challenge that I didn’t need that in a novel anymore. But to be honest, that’s just a massive guess. I have no idea why I stopped reading scary books. But I now remember that you sleep better when you don’t.
I think this novel was the perfect re-entry into scary fiction. It wasn’t perfectly written. Sometimes the prose felt a little clunky and the characters somewhat one-dimensional. Memories at specific times felt squeezed in or forced. But still the plotline remained dynamic – you wanted to read the next chapter. And the fear built – at the start it felt more morose than scary. Then you got the nagging sensation something wasn’t right – and so it grew from there. Your fear developed apace with the protagonists, which left you completely immersed in her world. I read this novel in 24 hours. I needed to know what happened.
This isn’t a novel which calls for deep insight, so I will leave it at that. But it is worth a read. If scary novels are in your ‘yes’ bucket. I think they are back in mine now. Sleep be damned.