Edge Of Darkness
Release Date: OUT NOW!
320 pages | £ 7.99 ( paperback) Author: Christopher Fowler Publisher: Solaris
Nyctophobia is the
pathological fear of the dark. It’s one of a number of problems newlywed Callie is struggling with. A vindictive mother, a history of abuse and the not- inconsiderable difficulties of emigrating to Spain are also giving her grief.
Still, her husband Matteo is devoted to her and the new house is an enormous sun- trap. Exactly what Callie needs to get over her phobias. Except there are locked, unlit rooms where no one goes… and Callie can hear things moving behind the doors.
Christopher Fowler is known for dancing between genres, so it’s sightly surprising that Nyctophobia is a very traditional haunted house story. The spirit of The Shining is invoked and the narrator’s sanity is constantly in question, as in The Innocents. Also like those films – and in spite of the title – many of its scares take place in the harsh light of day. In fact, Hyperion House is swathed in so much sunlight it occasionally reads like the characters are living in a giant greenhouse.
So Nyctophobia’s not hugely original, but then it’s increasingly hard to be in a genre as seasoned as this. Where it wins out is in its deeply uneasy atmosphere and Fowler’s assured, witty prose. This is a dark, sad tale, but Callie makes for a likeably self- effacing protagonist with a pleasingly pragmatic approach to the supernatural. Will Salmon