The Starers by Nathan Robinson

The title of this book is not one that particularly works for me, especially taken in isolation. I do love the cover though. It really works. More importantly it makes the title work. I don’t think I would have opened this book without that cover. A group of people just standing there and staring doesn’t sound very scary. A bit creepy, but not particularly scary. A load of creepy eyes covering the front of a book though is another matter. This is where this story is well done. The pacing is deliberately such that the inaction and frustration of the characters really bleeds through on to the reader. At least a couple of times I was sitting there screaming in my head, wanting the human statues to do something. Anything. It gets that frustrating.

This story is about an average working class family going through the usual kind of stresses and problems that most of us deal with. Then things start to get weird. Waking up with a hang-over to find a naked neighbour in your back garden just staring would be pretty disconcerting. Things get creepier from there. The first three quarters are fairly slow and tense and then the final part explodes  in a frenzy of activity. This book alternates between a tense psychological thriller and a splatter-fest B-movie. Although a little slow for my usual tastes I still enjoyed it. I think this story would make a great film and overall is a pretty good read.


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