Red Snow

The Visitors

by Catherine Burns

Overview: With the smart suspense of Emma Donoghue’s Room and the atmospheric claustrophobia of Grey Gardens, Catherine Burns’s debut novel explores the complex truths we are able to keep hidden from ourselves and the twisted realities that can lurk beneath even the most serene of surfaces.

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother John in a crumbling mansion on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to live by John’s rules, even if it means turning a blind eye to the noises she hears coming from behind the cellar door...and turning a blind eye to the women’s laundry in the hamper that isn’t hers. For years, she’s buried the signs of John’s devastating secret into the deep recesses of her mind—until the day John is crippled by a heart attack, and Marion becomes the only one whose shoulders are fit to bear his secret. Forced to go down to the cellar and face what her brother has kept hidden, Marion discovers more about herself than she ever thought possible. As the truth is slowly unraveled, we finally begin to understand: maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side....

Carole Zwicker (02/09/19): The tension in this novel is evident from page one. Marian and John Zetland are siblings living together in their dilapidated family home. From the onset, Marian is passive and somewhat fearful of her brother. The suspense builds as John spends more and more time in the basement, from which strange sounds are emitted. The story becomes creepier from one page to the next. It is a difficult story to read, but read you must. It is a giant cringe-fest but you need to know what happens next. A fantastic psychological mystery and a great read. Highly recommended.
Rating: ****

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