Remains by Andrew Cull
Reviewed by S.J. Budd
How far would you go? What horrors would you endure if it meant you might see the son you thought you’d lost forever?
Driven to a breakdown by the brutal murder of her young son, Lucy Campbell had locked herself away, fallen deep inside herself, become a ghost haunting room 23b of the William Tuke Psychiatric Hospital.
There she’d remained, until the whispering pulled her back, until she found herself once more sitting in her car, calling to the son she had lost, staring into the black panes of the now abandoned house where Alex had died.
Tonight, someone is watching her back.
I think this may be my favourite book of 2019. The most emotionally charged book I have ever read. This is a book so dark that I often had to take breaks whilst reading it and actually had nightmares over it. Read with caution if you have kids, or ever lost a loved one. This is a brutal book on grief. This is a heart wrenching tale drenched in horror.
Remains starts off as a slow burner, we are introduced to the main character of Lucy, a bereaved mother struggling to adapt to life without her son. I had to admit at the beginning I didn’t think much of her but as the book progressed I began to identify more with her. Initially I thought this was just going to be a really sad tale on the nature of grief but it is so much more a true horror novel.
Remains is a book that won’t let you go, there’s no respite to the darkness as we follows Lucy’s journey of recovery after the death of her only child after she checks out of a psychiatric ward. She’s looking for closure, living the nightmare each day everyday. There’s people on hand to help her but how can you comfort a grieving mother? How can you make things right? She refuses everyone’s help, shuts everyone out. She’s a mother on a mission.
Unlike everyone else, she just can’t leave her son behind, even if he has passed on. She won’t forget him and move on like everyone else. She’s still his mum. The urge to be with him is too strong to resist and she finds herself going back to where her son was killed.
Andrew Cull is an amazing writer. It’s hard to believe this is his debut novel as it so accomplished. He creates a really intense threat of horror from the first page. There’s very few books that can scare me, but this is one of them. The house, 1428 Montgomery, is terrifying. Andrew Cull conjures up a real presence of evil within its walls. If you like haunted house stories this is definitely up your street.
About S.J. Budd
S.J.Budd is a dark fiction author and HWA member from Cornwall. Her work has appeared in The No Sleep Podcast, Aphotic Realm, Sanitarium Magazine, Siren’s Call Publications, Deadman’s Tome, Innersins, Aphelion, Bewildering Stories, Blood Moon Rising Magazine, Shadows at the Door and Danse Macabre Magazine, The Wild Hunt, Morpheus Tales and Freedom Fiction.