Publication Date: June 16th 2016
When Rachel marries dark, handsome David, everything seems to fall into place. Swept from single life in London to the beautiful Carnhallow House in Cornwall, she gains wealth, love, and an affectionate stepson, Jamie.
But then Jamie’s behaviour changes, and Rachel’s perfect life begins to unravel. He makes disturbing predictions, claiming to be haunted by the spectre of his late mother – David’s previous wife. Is this Jamie’s way of punishing Rachel, or is he far more traumatized than she thought?
As Rachel starts digging into the past, she begins to grow suspicious of her husband. Why is he so reluctant to discuss Jamie’s outbursts? And what exactly happened to cause his ex-wife’s untimely death, less than two years ago? As summer slips away and December looms, Rachel beings to fear there might be truth in Jamie’s words:
‘You will be dead by Christmas.’
This may only be S. K. Tremayne’s second novel, but I have been hooked since The Ice Twins. Tremayne really knows how to bring fear and suspense through his writing whilst causing an imminent feeling of dread to settle deep within your chest as you journey through the mysteries and uncover the truths and lies hidden deep within the narrative. I had very high expectations for The Fire Child, and though I would not say it was as good as The Ice Twins, it was still deeply unnerving.
The Fire Child follows Rachel as she moves away from everything she has achieved and loved in the heart of London city to the rural, isolated confines of Carnhallow House. It is completely different to everything that she is used to but she is desperate to be the perfect wife and mother to David and Jamie, and to continue the renovations of the house previously undertaken by David’s deceased wife, Nina. As time goes on, both Rachel and Jamie begin to experience strange events: voices in empty rooms, apparitions out in public, and – for Rachel – the predictions on Jamie’s part. Tremayne doesn’t hold back in this novel, bringing everything he can to this ghostly story to make it as terrifying and unnerving as possible.
Though the beginning, I felt, was a little bit slow as events slowly built up and we got to know the characters, it ended in a brilliant climax that left me fearful of every noise, my heart thumping in my chest, and an anxious and nervous feeling settling deep within my stomach. All of this build up isn’t for nothing as you are faced with unexpected revelations that completely throw you off and make you think about these characters in a new light. I love that these revelations come so far into the novel and you really begin to question the characters, as well as yourself. With The Ice Twins, I found myself to be tense and on edge throughout with the events taking place within that novel; with The Fire Child, you feel more like the detective unraveling the clues and hoping that some juicy bit of information will be unintentionally revealed. They are both good in their own ways!
Tremayne really brings to life the characters within this novel. Each and every one of them has a flaw, each and every one of them is implicated in some way whether knowingly or not. And Tremayne really knew how to shift the emotions felt by the reader in regards to each and every character. One moment you’re loving one character until an event leaves you fearful and perplexed about their motives or actions and then you hate or question them. I loved this experience and I was constantly changing my opinion of characters based on information being revealed or hidden away. You don’t get everything all at once with Tremayne, it is fed to you in small bites – we don’t even fully understand the main character, Rachel, until around the first 100 pages!
I have to say that I am invested in Tremayne’s writing and I cannot wait to see what other psychological thrillers he brings to our tables, and laps. I love all the feelings that rush through me as I read his books and unravel the events and I appreciate that he brings attention to areas of the country that don’t seem to gain as much attention: Cornwall in The Fire Child, and the Isle of Skye in The Ice Twins. It was a brilliant book that came together very well.