The Intruders by E.E. Richardson
Beware of le spoilers.
So, this is a book I first read about ten years ago. I always remembered it as it frequently used that prayer “If I should die before I wake, I pray the lord my soul to take.” It was a common central theme to the supernatural forces awake in this book, so it was mentioned quite a lot.
As per reading it again, I found it surprising that the main characters were English, I hadn’t remembered that or noticed it, I don’t think, before.
I think for the short length of the book it paces itself well, however I feel more could have been done to explore and explain the murder suicide involved. The idea that the man just became “crazy” and killed his family and that’s meant as the only definition for what happened is weak at best and stigmatizing at worst. I mean, really, do we have to continue to frame the mentally ill in every supernatural or criminal act?
Because of that, I’ve rated it with the score below. I would have been happier with more exploration between the deaths of the characters from long ago, and not just the petty reasoning we were handed (as you’ll see later on). Alas, it’s something I still remembered, so that’s a plus.
4/5 child apparitions.
I recommend this 4 out of 5 child apparitions as it’s a book I still recalled ten years later, so it made enough of an impression on me as a young reader to remember it and re-read it. That’s gotta count for something! 🙂
“There. That was a good, strong, logical explanation. So why didn’t he believe a word of it?” – p. 82
The main character, Joel, is trying to bring logical reasoning to the disturbances of the ghostly apparitions in their new home, and tries to rationalize what’s happening, except he doesn’t believe a word of it. Kinda reminds me of reasoning with emotions or mental health issues, it just doesn’t often work. 😛
2. “Except, what if they didn’t do this? What was the alternative? Carry on living in a house where every shadow could hold a hidden menace, where he almost didn’t dare go to sleep because of the horrific images that were sure to invade his dreams?” – p. 146
As you’ll soon see, this book features a lot of quotes that I picked out because they struck me to the core and also could relate to PTSD and other related mental health conditions. It’s interesting that while having little to do with the subject matter, it can speak a lot to it.
3. “Nothing moved. In fact, it was so still, Joel began to feel like all the air must have been sucked out of the room, and they were just sitting there, trapped in timeless nothingness” – p. 153
I like this type of description, it’s often what you see me using to describe my own experiences with mental health issues. And also in creative writing, so that’s nice to find another author doing it, too. 🙂
4. “He felt as if the ghost was overlapping him, somehow, trying to force itself into the same space he occupied, trying to make him see what it had seen and know what it had known” – p. 157
5. “As if the silence in this room was a pool of dark liquid, spreading out to soak into everything around it and choke off every trace of sound” -p. 166
I also enjoy this description. 🙂
6. “A body. A woman. Someone’s mother. His mind didn’t want to see it, tried to reverse that terrible comprehension and force it back into the random blur of shapes and color it had been before, but once understanding kicked in, it couldn’t be put back” – p. 167
See what I mean?
7. “Except not fresh at all–years old, decades old, and printed not on the cracked and peeling paintwork, but somewhere deeper down. Etched into the history of this house, the stain of something so terrible it lingered long beyond the scrubbing away of physical marks” – p. 168
8. “The one thing blocked out above all others, a dark truth too horrible to reveal..Someone who lived there, someone who belonged there–someone who should have been keeping them safe” – p. 190 😦
9. “Patrick Sanderson had built his dream house, and destroyed himself in building it. But his wife and stepsons hadn’t left him–perhaps they’d been planning to, but they’d ever had the chance. He killed them all and then sealed them all in this forgotten crypt before he killed himself. And here they’d stayed, forever afterwards. Unremembered. Trapped” – p. 192
See what I mean about just unexplored? I think with greater depth and understanding on the part of the murderer, a deeper perspective taken on with his character, that it would make this book much stronger. But it feels like it was just slapped together very quickly, as if him just “being crazy” would explain everything. *angry sigh* I think the highlighted concept could have been explored further too.
10. “The others trailed up after them: wet, tired and battered, but together. The house might have come apart around them, but they were all still standing” – p. 196
Another thing that bothered me about this was that once the story with the apparitions had unfolded, that’s where the novel just ended. I mean, I suppose it carried out what the author was intending, but what on earth happened afterward? Their home was shredded to bits (which annoyingly happened only when the parents were away and they were clueless to anything that was happening with their newly blended family) and they just, what, continued living there? Or did they leave? Gwah.
I did like that this reminded me of the “Life As We Knew It” series though, as one of the books (you can check out my previous book reviews about them via searching my blog) from the series used this concept of the home being broken while the characters themselves survived.
Any who, that’s the review!! Next up: “The shade of the moon” by Susan Beth Pfeffer.
Thanks for reading!! ❤