So in autumn I like to read gripping and intense stories! Those just make me so want to go to bed very early and read when its getting darker and colder outside. For the October book I went for “The Shape of Night” by Tess Gerritsen.
If you like detective thrillers which give you instant goosebumps – you will probably know Tess Gerritsen, because she is just the QUEEN OF THRILLERS! If you don’t know her – go ahead and start reading her Rizzoli and Isles series. This is exactly why I was so excited for her new book. But this one is different: it’s a romance and psychological suspense novel. Not like her usual detective murder thrillers.
About the book:
So the novel is about a woman called Ava Collette who is trying to outrun her past after a tragedy in Boston. She rents an old house called “Brodies Watch” in a small village in Maine. She wants to isolate there and concentrate on writing her book as she is a food blogger author. She drowns her grief in alcohol and wants to escape her real life, family and friends.
She thought she found her peace in the old house until she sees Captain Jeremiah Brodie, who still resides there, although he died a very long time ago. The Rumor has it that he has haunted the house. Ava is unsettled and confused as Brodie welcomes her into his home and his world one night. He seems to be so real and also feels real. Is he a ghost?
With the smell of the sea she looks forward to his visits at night. When he comes – she escapes reality. Ava is not sure if she is going crazy or her mind is playing tricks on her. Ava does some research on the house and it’s past and finds out that there is a secret about the mansion: every woman who lived there also died there.
The previous resident of the house – also a woman – disappeared under concerning circumstances. Has the ghost of the long-time dead captain something to do with that? Or is a flesh and blood human being responsible for the deaths?
The most important aspects (spoiler):
So the story begins with Ava who’s arriving at the old and big house. It feels very dark and thrilling at the beginning – the scenery of an old house at the coast and the beat of the waves. It doesn’t take long until Ava starts to see Captain Jeremiah Brodie. He comes to her bed at night. He talks to her and also touches her. Their relationship develops very quickly into a kind of love-affair. He is kind and loving, but also demanding and intimidating. He wants to keep Ava safe, but on the other hand he wants her to admit the mistakes she made and punish her in favour for her feeling better. She confesses the sin she committed at the expense of her sister.
At the same time Ava starts socialising with the villagers. Very soon she is dating village doctor and artist Ben Gordon. He likes him, but compared to the ghost of Brodie she feels nothing.
As soon as she wakes up with bruises and marks, she contacts ghost hunter Maeve and her team to investigate paranormal activities in the house. Ben, who doesn’t really believe in any kind of paranormal, stays with them to make sure that there is nothing and especially no ghost harming Ava. As Maeves report confirm an usual shape – which is not a ghost – but something else evil, Ava packs up her stuff and wants to leave bad to Boston. Ben convinced her to come home with him. As he goes to work there is a turn. Ava finds paintings of the beach where another missing tourist was found dead and also pantings of her house. Ava is connecting all the dots and packs up her stuff hysterically to pick up her cat at the house and drive home to Boston. But Ben is one step ahead of her. It turns out that he killed a girl in the house many years ago as she wanted to split up with him. He experienced the same disappointment and rejection over and over again during the years. As he did with Charlotte -the previous resident- and the other tourist who was found dead. Ava is able to escape him at the end. In hospital her sister confronts her with her weird and reserved behaviour. Ava doesn’t want to harm her sister more than she already did – which is why she decides to live with her secret forever.
What I liked about the book:
I really loved the scenery! It felt so spooky and cold and I was so excited about what was going to happen in that old big house. That really got me in autumn mood! I also think Ava character is very accessible for most people. She did a big mistake and tries to escape because she feels guilty and doesn’t like herself anymore. The book is also written in her point of view which allows us to feel with her and put ourselves into her position. Hiding in that small village is a quite classic, but also very suitable element for a story like this. What I loved was the secret Ava was carrying with her. I was very excited for it’s reveal, although I had a clue what it could be already – and I was right.
What I didn’t like about the book:
I have to say that I was very confused as soon as I realised in which direction the book and especially Ava and Brodies relationship goes. It reminded be a bit of “Shades of Grey”, but not in a good way.. I didn’t think that sexual element fitted into the story. It was rather weird, because the man of Ava’s desire was a ghost?!
The first half of the book was very long-drawn. I was waiting for the moment of the secret reveal. Which came – but sadly wasn’t as dramatic as I expected it to be.
As a lot of things indicated Brodie as the killer – or possibly also a middle aged villager – it turned out to be Ben, the doctor. This kind of disappointed me as I thought there would be a bit more behind the story. There is for example the unanswered question why all the other women who lived in the house died there. If it wasn’t Ben – was it Brodie? So in the end maybe both of them are killers. In the end I had the feeling that the appearance of Brodies ghost (or whatever) was not fully thought out or reasoned enough.
MY RATING 2,5/5
I have to say I was quite disappointed of the book. I am a huge fan of Tess Gerritsen novels! I already read 7 or 8 of her books and I think they are amazing! But this one was just not for me. I think the elements of the book didn’t fit together. Although the overall picture of the book was great and I still loved her style of writing – it wasn’t gripping enough for me. I thought that the main story was about the women who died in the house and also the recent murders and disappearances, but instead the odd relationship between Ava and Brodie, which was a bit unfitting to rest of the book, took biggest part. Also disappointing that Ava kept her secret and decided to not tell her sister what happened. Overall – I’m not a big fan of the novel – but it still adds to autumn feeling!