Horror is not a genre that I usually go for – not in books or film – but I was intrigued after reading a teaser chapter of this debut novel. The last time I read anything that piqued my curiosity so much was Justin Cronin’s magnificent book, The Passage, which was a pretty good sign. I decided to see how much I could read on a train journey down to London – it turns out is was so gripping I had to dig something else out for the final hour’s travelling!
What made it so compelling? Well, imagine living in a world where you can’t look out of the window or see the sky. It is our world but you must hide from it because there is something nasty out there and if you see it you will die. Now, imagine that you are trapped in a house with all this horror outside – and you have two four year old children with you….. The story moves forward towards Malorie the heroine’s terrifying journey through this hostile world, blindfolded and relying on the unnaturally sharp hearing of toddlers who have never seen anything outside of a few rooms, and back through the events which led her to that point. We hear of the news reports, spreading round the world, of madness, murders and, above all, suicides which follow on from seeing ‘something’. This something is never fully described – only its awful effects.
This is a tautly written story – and, in fact, the genre seems to fall somewhere between horror, thriller and dystopian fiction. It turns out that it is as much about how different people react to a crisis as it is about the crisis itself. The story was taken up by Universal before publication and the screenplay has been given to genre specialist Eric Heisserer. I don’t know how long it will take to make but I may even try to overcome my reluctance to watch horror films when it comes out. But I may have to go home with a blindfold on…