The Lighthouse

Red Eye

Author: Alex Bell

£8.99

ISBN: 9781788951517 Category: Tag:

PUBLICATION DATE: September 29 2022

BINDING: Paperback

EXTENT: 352 pages

DIMENSIONS: 129 x 198 mm

In stock

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On Bird Rock, gannets circle and thick mist surrounds the lighthouse at its centre, hiding the secrets of a tragic past within …

From the second they set foot on the island to join their dad and his new family, Jess and Rosie feel that something’s wrong. Nightmares haunt their dreams and there seems to be someone, or something, else with them in the lighthouse – their home for the summer.

Counting down the days until they can leave, Jess and Rosie decide to investigate. But when Rosie disappears, the countdown takes on a new meaning. Especially when no one but Jess remembers Rosie at all…

Alex Bell’s chilling novel is part of the Red Eye series, perfect for fans of Juno Dawson’s SAY HER NAME and Kat Ellis’s HARROW LAKE.

3 reviews for The Lighthouse

  1. Danielle

    Thank you to Little Tiger Group and to NetGalley for the eARC of this book.

    I have a strange adoration for lighthouses. There’s something about their remoteness and resilence that I find deeply beautiful in a lonely, wistful sort of way. Whenever near the seaside, I visit them; when they crop up in books, I smile. It was therefore only natural for me to leap at the chance to read a book that centers around a lighthouse, especially a haunted, creepy one at that! What a lucky find for little ol’ me.

    The Lighthouse is a YA horror/mystery about teenaged sisters, Jess and Rosie, who are summoned by their father to the tiny remote island Bird Rock off the coast of Scotland. Their father is there with his new wife, Kate, and their six-year-old son, Charlie, studying the local gannets who call the island their home. On this island are a cluster of bothies (small stone houses) that turn out to be in use by local guga hunters, and the lighthouse.

    The story is told in first person from Jess’s point of view, and it goes at a break-neck speed. I was quickly gripped by, obviously, the lighthouse, and also the utter detachment from the rest of the world that faces this family as soon as they step foot onto Bird Rock. You get a real sense of “oh no this doesn’t feel good” straight away, helped along massively by that hair-raising prologue!

    The story is wonderfully chock full of twists and turns and snippets of past horrors dating back through the decades, complete with misdirections, an unreliable narrator, and shadows creeping in through the fog. The hands and shadows throughout the story genuinely unsettled me, and the scene in the fog was so visceral. When I got to the big reveal near the end, it was midnight and I was reading in the dark – I had to turn on my light and shut my bedroom door, because the descriptions and the pressing dark of the setting were just too much for me; I felt I was being watched, and that isn’t something that happens regularly when I read horror. The excellent final twist on the very last page was one I hadn’t guessed at at all, yet all the clues were there in hindsight (ah, what a beautiful thing!).

    This is a YA horror done right: it has all the unsettling vibes you could ever want, the perfect location, and just the right amount of emotion.

    That being said, I did have some minor gripes with this book:

    1) Jess and Rosie’s dad was rather unbelievable in places. There was a scene where he reacted in such an angry manner so immediately that I had to check I hadn’t skipped a page by mistake. Without giving too much away, this was before his temperment became a plot point. I also found it quite unbelievable that he and Kate slept through someone breaking into the lighthouse and cutting through an iron chain – as they’re parents to a bouncy six-year-old, I don’t believe for a second that they wouldn’t wake even at the sound of footsteps.

    2) The pace of the story is a little too fast in some places. However, I appreciate that this is a book with quite a complex set of events happening in a relatively small number of pages. I think that allowing for another 100 pages would have fixed this.

    I enjoyed this book a lot (I read it in one day), and if there is ever a sequel then I will eagerly await it with grabby hands! As with all ARCs I receive, I have pre-ordered a copy of this book and am looking forward to having the hard copy in my hands.

  2. BeeJay

    I haven’t read Alex Bell before, but I read Point Horror and Christopher Pike when they were cool, I read Charlie Higson’s zombie series and Micheal Grant’s Gone, I read Stephen King now. This’ll be fine, right? Nothing can be as bad as those!

    Oh, how I envy two days ago me’s innocence.

    To be fair, it starts out merely creepy, with a spooky setting and strange birds. That’s like a lot of books. Then Alex starts to pile on the tension. And then…I don’t want to spoil it, but it is up there in the blurb…Rosie vanishes, not just physically but from everyone’s memories as well. Jess’s panic and horror are painful to read, especially as she realises she’s starting to forget her sister too.

    When I was reading the scene in the cellar, I had to sit up and turn on some extra lights.

    And it doesn’t even end there! Alex drops a huge sequel hook right near the end, and I very much hope it gets picked up. Although some of the mysteries have been solved, there’s still plenty left to find out about the lighthouse and its strange inhabitants.

    Alex has a gift for capturing emotions both good and bad, and I felt everything her characters did. I’ll be going to look for some more of her writing. But…maybe in the sunshine?

  3. Schizanthus Nerd

    “Don’t go near the lighthouse.”

    There’s not much to do on Bird Rock. The island has no shops, locals or phone reception. What it does have are thousands of gannets, some stone bothies, a lighthouse and an abundance of guano.

    Fifteen year old Jess Oliver is definitely not keen on spending two weeks of her summer vacation there. Rosie, her twelve year old sister, is more positive about the trip and hopes to take an award winning photo while she’s there.

    Their father and his new wife, Kate, both ornithologists, are working on the island. The sisters will be meeting Charlie, their stepbrother, for the first time.

    “The lighthouse is haunted. Cursed. It’s a dangerous place. Something will happen if you stay here. Something bad-“

    Because this is an Alex Bell book, and a Red Eye one at that, it’s not long before strange things begin to happen. This was a compulsive read, with a centuries old mystery at its heart, some great creepy moments and a dose of sadness.

    I enjoyed the gradual reveal of the history of the lighthouse and absolutely loved that I wasn’t able to figure out what was behind the mystery ahead of time.

    Knowing what I now know, I want to return to Bird Rock and experience it all over again.

    “I know you’re there.”

    Content warnings are included on my blog.

    Thank you so much to NetGalley and Stripes Publishing, an imprint of Little Tiger Group, for the opportunity to read this book. I’m rounding up from 4.5 stars.

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Meet the author

Alex Bell

Alex Bell always wanted to be a writer, but embarked upon a Law Degree as a back-up plan, writing no fewer than six novels during her time at university. The published author of FROZEN CHARLOTTE, CHAR…

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