Genre: Paranormal / Horror
Additional Information: I don’t normally write reviews immediately after finishing the book, I like a few days to think it through but can’t really help myself it this time.
Synopsis: Seventeen-year-old Elliott hasn’t slept properly for months. Not since the accident that nearly killed him. Sometimes he half-wakes, paralysed, while shadowy figures move around him. Other times he is the one moving around while his body lies asleep on the bed. His doctors say sleep paralysis and out-of-body experiences are harmless – but to Elliott they’re terrifying.
Convinced that his brush with death has attracted the spirit world, Elliott secures a job at a reputedly haunted museum, determined to discover the truth. There, he meets the enigmatic Ophelia. But, as she and Elliott grow closer, Elliott draws new attention from the dead. One night, during an out-of-body experience, Elliott returns to bed to find his body gone. Something is occupying it, something that wants to live again – and it wants Ophelia, too . . .
200 words (or less) review: Ohh this is good… it’s mysterious, spooky and pulls you in.
Yes there are ghosts and yes the story starts Elliot finding one in his bathroom but the writing and pacing are gentle. I wasn’t so much being dragged through Elliot’s journey but rather walked along beside him. It takes a lot of skill to give the reader breathing space without ever letting them get bored.
The characters are plentiful and Past Lives (the haunted museum) is brilliant. I’ve been on ghost walks and to museums like that and Michelle Harrison has created a place I’d love to visit.
I think one of the things that make this book so special is that it is so ground in reality. Elliot is pragmatic in dealing with his new condition, Ophelia is strong, their relationship and well as his relationship with his family don’t feel forced. I really liked that his father and brother, while sceptic, were supportive.
There are twists and turns along the way and I fooled until almost the end of the book.