Book Review: The Retreat

Mining thrills out of domestic discord has become a staple in contemporary psychological mysteries, but Mark Edwards throws in a dose of supernatural (but wait, there is a logical explanation!) for good measure in his latest work The Retreat, a moody suspenser that expertly digs out our fear of the unknown, all the while exploring themes of grief, loss and what it means to move on with life. Set against the fictional backdrop of Beddmawr, an isolated village in the Berwyn Mountains, the story is "a story within a story", about a 42-year-old Lucas Radcliffe, a horror novelist who decides to rent a room at the newly opened writer's retreat run by Julia, an emotional wreck of a woman haunted by the tragic loss of her daughter and her husband. In the middle of finishing up his second novel, but at the same time intrigued with Julia and the peculiar circumstances surrounding her daughter's sudden disappearance, Lucas takes it upon himself to give Julia the closure she seeks, going to the extent of even hiring a private detective to dig more about the case, only to realise that in unearthing the past, he might have put his own life in danger. An atmospheric, compelling whodunit that's perfect for a night-time read!