Review – The Death Chamber by Sarah Rayne

Calvary Gaol is a dark and forbidding building in Cumbria. An old place of execution, it intrigues TV presenter Chad Ingram and his crew, who decide to write a show about it and head to Cumbria to look around. In the meantime, interior designer Georgina receives a letter about her great-grandfather’s will, and discovers that as the prison doctor, he was also bound up in the grisly history of the gaol. 

Their arrivals coincide, and inevitably the TV team and Georgina get together to investigate the building. But someone really wants to stop them. Who? Why? What deep, dark secrets is the gaol hiding? Can a place have a memory? 

The history of the gaol is intricate and complex, and the book tries to do this justice by writing from multiple points of view throughout. But actually, it just makes for quite a confusing read: the transitions between past and present aren’t very smooth, and I found myself constantly wondering who was speaking and why. Some of the characters, particularly the smarmy Vincent, were caricaturish and shallow as well, which was disappointing because at base, it probably could have been an alright read. 

I’d stay away from this one if I were you; Sarah Rayne has written better novels. I’d recommend A Dark Dividing instead. 

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