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***** - Family Business


FAMILY BUSINESS

JONATHAN SIMS

****


You can read my previous review of Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims HERE


JUST ANOTHER DEAD-END JOB.


DEATH. IT'S A DIRTY BUSINESS.


When Diya Burman's best friend Angie dies, it feels like her own life is falling apart. Wanting a fresh start, she joins Slough & Sons - a family firm that cleans up after the recently deceased.


Old love letters. Porcelain dolls. Broken trinkets. Clearing away the remnants of other people's lives, Diya begins to see things. Horrible things. Things that get harder and harder to write off as merely her grieving imagination. All is not as it seems with the Slough family. Why won't they speak about their own recent loss? And who is the strange man that keeps turning up at their jobs?


If Diya's not careful, she might just end up getting buried under the family tree. .


MY REVIEW

*****

I previously enjoyed Thirteen Storeys by Jonathan Sims, which was one of my favourite reads for 2020 so I was excited to start Family Business. They are two very different books, but Sims is a master of the horror genre and this new book really hooks you in and keeps the unease high before unleashing a paranormal threat on the main characters as the book rushes to an action-packed finale.


Our main character is Diya, a woman who has lost her way after her roommate dies. She starts a new job with Slough and Sons, a family business who perform deceased clean-ups. The family are strange enough, but when Diya starts getting visions and her memories start to fade, she soon realises things are not all they seem. Diya is a well-rounded character and the portrayal of grief over her roommate is really touchingly drawn. The other characters are all well-defined and easily relatable – the gothic Xen, spiritual Mary and gruff Frank all have their own secrets but are still interesting in their own right. The deaths that they clean up are gory or even just sad at times and the flashbacks to see into their minds at the time of their death is a nice twist.


The build up to the paranormal element with the introduction of Mr Bill is written carefully and slowly, steadily building the tension and allowing space for a suspension of disbelief. Some of the scenes where Diya is running from the man with the eternal stretched smile were very creepy and difficult to read at night! I do perhaps think that some of the middle of the book could have been trimmed or edited down as it did feel like it dragged in a few places. This becomes particularly apparent when compared to the action-packed finale.


Overall Family Business is a spooky horror, perfect for Halloween reading on a cold, dark night. Thank you to NetGalley & Orion Publishing Group – Gollancz for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.


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