The Death Chamber
Felony & Mayhem Press
New York, New York
First U.K. Printing 2008
Simon & Schuster
Georgina Grey received an unusual letter. Apparently, she is the recipient of the Caradoc Society's assets. Her great-grandfather had made a generous bequest to this group back in 1940. Now that the group is has dissolved Georgina seems to be the only surviving heir.
For Georgina, this possible treasure could be the answer to her prayers. Recently her boyfriend left with her bank account along with her business partner.
Chad Ingram is always on the lookout for a story. He is a television producer and his special is going to focus on Calvary Gaol. Now abandoned, Calvary was the final destination for numerous British criminals since World War I. The team is doing research on evidence of an afterlife and what better place to look than an execution chamber where many met their maker through being hung.
Chad wants an unbiased perspective of the execution chamber. A friend of his, Jude Stratton is chosen to spend some time alone in what they believe could be a nest of spirits. Jude is the perfect person for this choice since he was a freelance journalist. He is blind from covering a story while in the Middle East, and a bomb blinded him. Jude would not know where he is, and this would be perfect for the show.
The Death Chamber is an unusual novel. The first half of the book is the groundwork for the rest of the story, similar to unpacking a jigsaw puzzle. There seem to be numerous unrelated pieces which need to constructed into a frame and then filled-in one piece at a time.
The second half amazingly connects almost to being contrived. The coincidences and relationships are shocking as each page is revealed.
Sarah Rayne has written many psycho-logical suspense novels including Ghost Song and A Dark Dividing. She resides in London.
Surprisingly, I thoroughly enjoyed Rayne's writing style. I was amazed to analyze that in the first half of the book, nothing happened. Even then, it did keep my interest. The second half made me feel that I had to read each page faster. There was an anxiousness to discover how the characters were related, what secret crimes are found, and how all this is relevant to Calvary.
The Death Chamber is for adult readers who enjoy intricately woven tales.