The Folcroft Ghosts – Darcy Coates

“We want to talk about the ghosts.”

When their mother is hospitalised after an accident, fifteen year old Tara and her eleven year old brother, Kyle, go to stay with their grandparents. Their mother doesn’t talk about her parents and the siblings have never even met Peter and May.

The house is isolated and it isn’t long before the siblings notice some strange things. They begin to wonder what secrets their grandparents are hiding from them.

I’ve been eyeing off Darcy Coates’ books for quite a while now and know at least one has made it into my Kindle’s Black Hole of Good Intentions, but this was the first I’ve read. I expected some serious creepiness but I comfortably read this in the middle of the night while everyone was sleeping and the rain was keeping me company. I wasn’t even tempted to quickly turn on a light to make sure nothing was watching over me as I read.

“Did you hear the footsteps?”

If I’d read this book when I was younger I expect it would have unsettled me enough that I would have been suspicious of every noise I heard at night. However, it felt like I was reading a more atmospheric R.L. Stine book than one intended for adults.

Having said that, I enjoyed the story. It was a quick, light read, I was almost immediately sucked in and I liked the characters. While I never felt like I really got to know Peter as well as I would have liked, Tara and Kyle’s bond made me wish I had a sibling.

“There is nothing more important to us than family.”

May was the standout character for me. Regardless of everything else going on in the background I wanted to hang out with her in the kitchen. Never mind the ghosts; I’m going to the Folcroft’s for May’s cooking.

My main niggle was a strange one; the maths didn’t work for me. We learn that Tara and Kyle’s mother was 17 when she wrote in her journal in 1985. Then later it’s said she was almost 2 in 1975.

At the end of the book there are three short stories. My favourite was Clockwork.

Clockwork

This had a Roald Dahl short story feel and it was a delight.

“Some run fast. Others run slow. They must all keep the same time. Down to the second.”

Sub Basement

Sometimes I enjoy ambiguity when reading something potentially spooky; this time I wanted to see for myself what was there.

Dozens of people had made the run without seeing anything out of the ordinary. And even when … well, Joan had suffered from a heart condition, anyway.

Crypt

In this sleepy town’s graveyard there’s a new section and then there’s the one that was there before the town was settled. There are stories about that old section.

“They don’t believe me,” he said before I could even open my mouth. “They think I’m making it up.”

“Making what up?” I asked.

“The vampire.”

Content warnings include death by suicide.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press, an imprint of Sourcebooks, for the opportunity to read this book. I want to read more books by this author.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Blurb

When their mother is hospitalised, Tara and Kyle are sent to stay with their only remaining relatives, their grandparents.

It’s their first time meeting May and Peter Folcroft. The elderly couple seem friendly at first, and the house, hidden in the base of the mountains, is full of nooks to explore.

But strange things keep happening. The swing moves on its own. Peter paces around the house late at night and seems obsessed with the lake where his sister drowned. Doors slam and curtains shift when no one is inside. And one room is kept permanently locked.

When a storm cuts the phone line – their only contact with the outside world – Tara and Kyle must find a way to protect themselves from their increasingly erratic grandparents … and from the ghosts that inhabit the Folcroft’s house.

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