Charles and Laura are a young, happily married couple inhabiting the privileged world of Cambridge academia. Brimming with excitement, Charles sets off with his daughter Naomi on a Christmas Eve shopping trip to London. But, by the end of the day, all Charles and his wife have left are cups of tea and police sympathy. For Naomi, their beautiful, angelic only child, has disappeared. Days later her murdered body is discovered.
But is she dead?
In a howling, bumping story of past and present day hell, Jonathan Aycliffe’s haunting psychological masterpiece is guaranteed to make you sink to untold depths of teeth-shaking terror.
Title: Naomi’s Room | Author: Jonathan Aycliffe | Publisher: Constable | Pub. Date: 21st November 1991 | Pages: 216 | ISBN: 9781472105110 | Genre: Horror | Language: English Source: Purchased| Starred Review | Content warning included following the review.
Naomi’s Room Review
A friend recently read Naomi’s Room and said it was so scary, she gave serious thought to sleeping with the lights on. From someone who reads a ton of horror and isn’t phased much, that’s high praise indeed, so obviously I needed to get my hands on it.
Naomi’s Room is probably one of the strongest ghost stories I’ve ever read. It’s brooding and atmospheric but never slow. The story never stops moving forward, dropping new and terrifying details along the way, and as a reader, it absolutely captivated me. I read this in one sitting, which isn’t something I manage often, but I just could not tear myself away from the horrors of this novel.
The crime that kicks off the story is, of course, absolutely appalling. Charles takes his daughter, Naomi, out for some Christmas Eve shopping, only for her to disappear from the toy shop. Her body is found the next day, and while the author skips over the details, it’s understood that she’s been horrifically mutilated. Following her death, Charles and his wife Laura begin experiencing strange things in their home – could it be Naomi?
This trend of leaving some of the grislier details out persists throughout the book, and while in less capable hands, it may have watered down the horror, here it made it all the more intense. By choosing to have Charles talk about the horrors of what he sees without concrete details, I found myself imagining the worst. It also makes it all the more impactful when Charles does speak in more detail about what he’s seen, which might have been lost if the reader was constantly being bombarded with gory, awful details. This decision to leave some of the details vague also made it so that the events at the climax of the book completely caught me off guard, but reflecting back after I finished reading, it was clear the breadcrumbs were there all along.
Naomi’s Room is a deftly executed novel that never falters or gets bogged down by what it’s attempting to convey. It’s just a damn good ghost story, with a compelling cast of characters to keep the reader invested. If you want a book that will leave you looking over your shoulder at every little sound for days to come, this is the one.
You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads (buying direct from retailers is a good way to support indie authors); however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.