A South African couple seeks respite from their troubled lives by taking a romantic vacation to Paris that quickly becomes the stuff of nightmares.
After masked men break into Mark and Steph’s Cape Town home, they both begin to suffer from paranoia and insomnia despite the fact that neither they nor their daughter was physically injured. Though they're strapped for cash, they find a website that facilitates house swaps and agree to trade a week in South Africa for a week in Paris, hoping that this time away will soothe their anxieties. But from the very beginning of the trip, nothing goes as expected: the Paris couple never shows up in Cape Town, and the apartment in Paris is like the set of a horror movie, complete with a creepy neighbor who utters cryptic warnings like “You be careful here. It is not for living.” When she throws herself out a window, Mark and Steph have had enough and return home. But Mark has been infected by the darkness and continues to have supernatural visions of a dead girl. Steph has to protect herself and her daughter as Mark’s behavior becomes more and more sinister. There are moments of true scariness that emerge from a sustained, deep-seated sense of discomfort, and the novel is very visual, providing cinematic descriptions such as “just for an instant, a skittering, shadowy thing, flat and blank-faced and multi-limbed, darted for me like a trapdoor spider lunging for a fly.” Grey's (The Mall, 2014, etc.) characters are not deeply developed, but they don’t have to be.
Chills and thrills enough to attract and please fans of supernatural horror. This one will keep you up all night.