Naomi’s Room by Jonathan Aycliffe


Charles and Laura are a young, happily married couple inhabiting the privileged world of Cambridge academia. 

Brimming with excitement, Charles sets off with his daughter Naomi on a Christmas Eve shopping trip to London. But, by the end of the day, all Charles and his wife have left are cups of tea and police sympathy. For Naomi, their beautiful, angelic only child, has disappeared. Days later her murdered body is discovered.

But is she dead?

In a howling, bumping story of past and present day hell, Jonathan Aycliffe's haunting psychological masterpiece is guaranteed to make you sink to untold depths of teeth-shaking terror.

Well! I did not expect that!

Naomi’s Room is one of those books that I knew nothing about. I think it just showed up on my Amazon page one day, and I thought that sounded good.

The story revolves around Charles, Laura and their daughter Naomi. On Christmas Eve, Charles and Naomi take a Christmas shopping trip from their house in Cambridge to London. Whilst they are having a wonderful time in Hamleys the worst thing that could happen happens. Naomi becomes separated form her father. After reporting this to the store manager, it soon becomes apparent that this is much more than a case of a child wandering off in the shop as soon after the police are called. Shortly after her body is found (this is not a spoiler, it’s on the book description)

Whilst this is horrifying, it’s what happens next that bumps the story up to horror.

Told in a split perspective of what is happening in the present, and then describing the events that led up to Naomi’s disappearance, I found that this book is as creepy as hell. Touted by many people as one of the scariest books that they have read, I did find that this book was as creepy as hell!

Initially, the first half of the story is a ghost story that is very reminiscent of old style ghost stories like M. R. James or Algernon Blackwood, but then the trajectory takes a very unexpected twist that totally blindsided me.

I am not going to go too much into the specifics of the actual plot as I think that this requires the reader to go into it with very few preconceptions of what the story is actually about. However, there are some things that can be discussed without giving too much away.

As I mentioned earlier, the book is very reminiscent of the old style of ghost story. From the moment that the story opens there are massive elements of foreshadowing that something is not quite right and that the book by the end will have a massive sting in the tale. Aycliffe uses this to great effect. Often, when describing horror books certain phrases will be used to attempt to convey how the person reading the book is feeling when they actually reading it. One of the phrases that I often see used is a feeling of ‘creeping dread’. I think that this is a book that I have read where that phrase is perfect. Aycliffe masterfully draws the atmosphere of the story, using prose to elicit those feelings, and I have to say that this is one of the few horror books that actually gave me the creeps whilst I was reading it.

However, not only does it paint an eerie picture, but it also successfully manages to convey the loss and the hopelessness that Charles and Laura experience after such a horrific incident, how their relationship is affected, and how they cope with the loss.

The first third of the book deals with the aftermath of the events in the past, but also events that are happening in the present. Then the book moves full throttle into the haunting. Not only that, there is the mystery of Naomi's death and the interaction between police.

The second third of the book starts to explore more of the history surrounding certain events, but then the final third goes into territory that is totally unexpected.

Now, people say that this is the scariest book that they have ever read, and the question is, is it scary. Scary in my opinion is similar to humour. It’s individual to the person, and whilst I did find the book immensely creepy, it did not scare the hell out of me. However, I will say this, the book is disturbing as hell, and it at times it is completely fucked up. This is one of those books that will definitely stay with me. 



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