I’ve had a bit of a hiatus in blogging recently as I’ve had a much-needed holiday! Nowhere particular, you understand, just here and there – walking, hiking, reading. But I am back again and am pleased to bring you a review of Danny Weston’s superb chiller Inchtinn: Island of Shadows. This is not a place I’d like to visit on holiday, and if you read the book, you’ll soon know why.
Inchtinn, or ‘the Island of the Sick’, lies off the coast of Scotland and boasts a mysterious past and a frightening present.
Our main character is Noah, who has just left his latest boarding school and who remains tight-lipped about the circumstances with his adoptive mother, Millicent. Both are mourning the loss of the Captain – Noah’s adoptive father, and Millicent’s beloved husband – and their relationship is icy, at best. The idea of the two spending any time alone seems fraught with tension, never mind a prolonged sojourn on a deserted island, but Millicent, a bestselling children’s author, is desperate for a change of scene in the hope that she can find some inspiration for her next book.
Inchtinn is remote (only accessibly by boat), isolated (only one short-wave radio exists on the island – no electricity, no running water, etc) and was once the site of a leper colony. Its reputation amongst the locals on the mainland is such that no one dares go near, yet Millicent is deaf to any and all words of caution. Noah doubts he will find much to interest him on the island but he is soon discovers more than he was bargaining for, including a strange girl in a cave and some very violent guillemots.
I devoured this book in a couple of days and enjoyed how Weston kept up the suspense from the moment Noah and his mother arrived on the island to the very last page. At the heart of any good supernatural story is background emotional turmoil, and Noah and his mother had this in spades – their antipathy borders on hostility at times so, alongside the growing unease on the island, the two characters must play out their own drama. Ironically, as Millicent struggles to find a good story for her famous child protagonists – the Adventurers, who sound similar to the Famous Five – Noah is thrown immediately into dramatic situations that would scare even the bravest characters his mother could dream up.
I really enjoyed this book – in some ways I wonder if there might be a follow-up because of how things are left at the end. I would be happy to read more and found this a deliciously creepy and atmospheric read.
Published by UCLan Publishing