12 October 2023
Thanks to the publishers for my copy of this book
Something has walked the floors of the Ormen for almost a century. Something that craves revenge…
1901. On board the Ormen, a whaling ship battling through the unforgiving North Sea, Nicky Duthie awakes. Attacked and dragged there against her will, it’s just her and the crew – and they’re all owed something only she can give them.
1973. Decades later, when the ship is found still drifting across the ocean, it’s deserted. Just one body is left on board, his face and feet mutilated, his cabin locked from the inside. Everyone else has vanished.
Now, as urban explorer Dominique travels into the near-permanent darkness of the northernmost tip of Iceland, to the final resting place of the Ormen’s wreck, she’s determined to uncover the ship’s secrets.
But she’s not alone. Something is here with her. And it’s seeking revenge…
I enjoy curling up with an eerily spooky tale on Halloween and my chosen book this year certainly brings an ice cold chill. The ghostly appearance of the book’s ice blue cover appealed to me and whilst A Haunting in the Arctic isn’t your typical Halloween story it certainly has enough creepy elements to have you jumping at shadows especially as it focuses on the ethereal nature of a ghost ship beached in the frozen waters of the Arctic.
In combining a dark mystery with elements of folk lore, this multi timeline story soon had an ice cold grip upon my imagination. The stark and unforgiving landscape of Iceland is very much part of the narrative as is life aboard the whaling ship in 1901 when we experience the brutality of life on the Ormen. The modern day sections of the story, set in 2023, are equally chilling especially as we meet Dominique, an urban explorer, who has travelled to Skúmaskot, in Iceland, to record the final days of the Ormen before it is destroyed forever.
There’s an undeniable tension to the story which is hard to explain without giving details of the plot away, so I won’t even try except to say I was completely hooked from the start. It’s certainly a harsh read, filled with horror and a sense of despair with the haunting nature of the folklore elements adding a very different sort of dynamic to the story.
A Haunting in the Arctic blends history, folklore and the supernatural into a vengeful and atmosphere story.
About the Author
C.J. Cooke is an acclaimed, award-winning poet, novelist and academic with numerous other publications under the name of Carolyn Jess-Cooke. Born in Belfast, she has a PhD in Literature from Queen’s University, Belfast, and is currently Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow, where she researches creative writing interventions for mental health. She also founded the Stay-At-Home Festival.
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