When is a book not really a book? When it has just 79 pages, it is a stretch to call it a book. I read this in one bedtime session, and it felt a lot more like an elongated short story, rather than a novella. But it only cost 99p, so I’m not complaining.
This is marketed as a ‘horror’ story. But it’s not really horrific. It is sinister, that’s for sure, and in a good way.
The writing is very good. I was drawn in to the main character immediately, and the sense of a time and place are very well illustrated too. Perhaps because I write a lot of short stories and fiction serials, I sensed immediately that this was heading for a ‘big twist’, and long before the reveal, I knew what the ending would be. But none of that is a bad thing, as the idea behind it is well-constructed, and I could easily believe the story in that genre.
Vincent Preece is a self-made man. He built and sold a business, and is enjoying the fruits of his wealth. But all is not well. His wife and daughter have deserted him, and he lives alone in a huge house, with nothing to occupy his time.
One day, he is wandering around a boot-sale market, and he buys a strange old mobile phone for £10. Back home, he discovers that the phone has no battery, no sim card, and seemingly no way to connect to any network. But he likes the look of it, so keeps it around.
And then one day, it rings…
Vincent gets mysterious messages, but the calls drop out before he can question the caller. Each message tells him a dark secret, one he feels he must act upon.
This is nicely paced, and manages to cram a lot into those 79 pages.
Despite guessing the end, I really enjoyed it.