The Visitors

‘Once you start Catherine Burns’s dark, disturbing, and enthralling debut novel, it’s hard to stop. The Visitors is bizarrely unsettling, yet compulsively readable.’ Iain Reid, Internationally Bestselling Author of I’m Thinking of Ending Things

Marion Zetland lives with her domineering older brother, John in a decaying Georgian townhouse on the edge of a northern seaside resort. A timid spinster in her fifties who still sleeps with teddy bears, Marion does her best to shut out the shocking secret that John keeps in the cellar.

Until, suddenly, John has a heart attack and Marion is forced to go down to the cellar herself and face the gruesome truth that her brother has kept hidden.

As questions are asked and secrets unravel, maybe John isn’t the only one with a dark side.



This is going to be one of those books with a love it or don’t audience simply because it’s not the normal kind of spine tingling, fast paced thriller most are used to in this genre. But if you give this a chance you’ll find an interesting literary work that is also unique and thrilling in its own way.

Despite the modern setting of the book there is still this old fashioned gothic feel that adds to the mood and helps heighten the personalities of the characters; siblings Marion and John. Her character work for them actually reminded me a bit of the movie Crimson Peak. A dilapidated mansion full of old, rotting junk becomes its own character with a creepy personality and ghastly secrets. In some ways the house mirrors Marion herself making it doubly intriguing.

Catharine Burns did a wonderful job of providing characters that will transfix your attention and have you thinking about them long after you close the cover. John’s anger boils off the pages and his actions of bringing people into the basement who never leave had me creeped out thanks to watching way too many Criminal Minds episodes. You can also feel how despicable their mother was despite the fact she’s dead. Marion believes so deeply in her own unworthiness thanks to how she was treated her entire life even the reader can’t help but believe the same as we see events unfold through her perspective. Though if you have a heart you’ll also feel sympathy for what she has endured.

This is such a detailed and well planned out character driven novel you’ll get sucked into their lives, the evil, confusion, denial, lies guilt and their journey to the truth – good or bad.

Thank you to Netgalley and Legend Press for allowing me to review this!

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