*I received a free ARC of this book with thanks to the author and Rachel Gilbey at Rachel’s Random Resources blog tours. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: Sometimes the dead come back. And sometimes all they want is to hurt you.
When residents on an east London housing estate start dying in gruesome ways, housing manager Ada begins to worry that her past is coming back to haunt her.
Once a powerful medium, able to talk to the dead with amazing ease, she became more comfortable with the afterlife than real life, and with that openness she attracted something dark from the other side. Terrified by the experience she swore she would never communicate with the dead again.
Ten years later at the scene of an apparent suicide, her long closed-down connection to the dead is reopened, and she begins to receive information she shouldn’t know about the victims’ final moments.
Stalked in her dreams and in waking life by an angry male presence, Ada begins to relive the dark days when something from the other side wanted her to end her life.
But as the bodies stack up and the visions intensify, Ada realises that in order to stop more people from dying she has to let the dead back in to find out the truth of what is driving her residents to violent acts – and face up to her own ghosts.
At the start of The Tower I thought I knew what kind of book I was getting. I assumed that it was going to be psychic teams up with love interest to solve serial killings. I was both wrong and right, as this book is much darker and more surprising than the initial setup leads you to believe!
Ada is a housing manager with a secret past. She used to be able to see visions and communicate with the dead, but deliberately shut the ability down long ago and now just tries to lead a normal, regular life. When tenants in the apartment block she manages start dying, Ada realises that she will have to reopen the door to her powers, but who knows what else might sneak through?
The premise here reminded me of one of my all-time favourite films, Fallen, but with the religious aspects substituted for more of a crime suspense investigation. There is also a romantic element here, between Ada and Daniel Harman (her police contact and friend-with-benefits) which I loved and would like to have seen developed much further.
The tone of the book is very dark, and gets progressively darker as Ada is dragged into a case that pivots around self-harm, suicide and domestic violence at every turn. Ada herself struggles with self-harming and leans heavily on alcohol to drown out the horrors that she faces, so there may be potential triggers in all of these areas for some readers. However, the author’s treatment of these subjects is sympathetic and the details are all relevant to the central plot, not peppered in salaciously.
In fact, Ada’s own experiences and thought processes are intrinsic to the story, as the narrative is in her own first-person account, so we get an intimate understanding of the issues she faces and her attempts to handle them successfully.
I was completely blindsided by the ending, and enjoyed how the author deliberately took my assumptions and expectations and subverted them in a new and unexpected direction. When I thought back over the whole book, I realised that I should have actually seen it coming, but had been as successfully hoodwinked as any of the other victims in the book!
I would definitely read more from Anne-Marie Ormsby, and plan to check out Purgatory Hotel when I get the chance, as it is unrelated to this plot, but appears to be set in the same fictional universe.
The day I found the first body it was my ten-year work anniversary. I’d gone in that day with boxes of doughnuts to celebrate and I was just about to tuck into one when my phone rang. I remember it was a Krispy Kreme ring doughnut with pink glittery glaze. I never got to eat it, and now I can’t see a ring doughnut without remembering the body. That room and the look on his face.
– Anne-Marie Ormsby, The Tower
The Tower is available on Amazon right now, and don’t forget to stop by the other blogs on this tour (see the poster below for details) for more great content and reviews!