Tuesday, January 8, 2013
In the first chapter of Haunted by Maria Savva we meet Nigel, a shell of a man in his fifties. Everything he does, says, thinks or touches is tainted by his private hell. Nigel Price killed a woman 20 years earlier and got away with it.
That is it, the whole story revolves around those facts. Yet, it is not tedious, a psychological thriller like this one, if handled incorrectly, can be boring and seem like whining, not in this case, it is easy to feel the burden of regret, bad memories and the loss of the will to live.
As Nigel's shell of a life starts unraveling, we get to think: Is his private hell an appropriate punishment or should he go to jail to pay for his crime? Even though he's not in jail, he's not breathing the air of a free man, it is hard to be sympathetic to a murderer, yet Maria Savva did it in a masterful way. I kept wishing he didn't get caught, then had to remind myself he killed a person in a moment of rage and should pay. This is my inner dialogue as I read the book:
Me: Poor guy
Other Me: What do you mean poor guy? He killed Emily!
Me: But he didn't mean to
Other Me: Little consolation for her at this point
Me: And he's suffered for it
Other Me: Not enough in my opinion
Me: I wish he could forgive himself and start living life again
Other Me: Seriously???
Me: I'll just keep on reading and see what happens
Other Me: Yeah, let's do that
The story takes us back to that fateful day on the cliff, then it comes back to Nigel's life before, during and after the event ending with something hauntingly mysterious happening to him. We also get to know about Emily's life leading up to that terrible day when her life and the life of her unborn child was cut short.
The beautiful book cover conveys the story perfectly, there is Emily Baxter walking away to another world yet looking back with eyes that will follow Nigel Price as long as he lives.