The Visitors

Catherine Burns. Scout, $26 (304p) ISBN 978-1-5011-6401-9
British author Burns’s disquieting debut focuses on Marion Zetland, a 54-year-old spinster who has never held a job, had a friend, or known love. She passes time by daydreaming, watching TV, and trying to please her cruel and imperious older brother, John, with whom she shares her dead parents’ dilapidated Northport, England, home. John, a disgraced former schoolteacher, spends his days in the house’s cellar, where he allegedly builds model airplanes, but that explanation doesn’t account for the sobs and screams that occasionally escape the air vents. Marion tries not to dwell on what might actually be happening in the cellar—she’s powerless to change the situation, so why bother?—but then John falls ill, forcing Marion to face some harsh truths. Burns blurs the line between crime fiction and horror in this relentlessly bleak tale of loneliness and neglect. Marion’s emotional instability and proclivity for denial cause readers to question her reliability. Deliberate pacing, a claustrophobic setting, and vivid, wildly unsympathetic characters complement the twisted plot and grim conclusion. Agent: David Forrer, Inkwell Management. (Sept.)
Reviewed on: 07/24/2017
Release date: 09/26/2017
Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-1-78507-917-7
Hardcover - 288 pages - 978-1-78719-985-9
Paperback - 978-1-5011-7871-9
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-5082-4394-6
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