I always thought my demons came out in the day, rather than at night. I’ve never been scared of the dark. I’ve only ever been scared of real things: getting ill, having injections, physical pain… death. Those are my monsters, not ghosts or vampires or whatever else can hide under your bed at night. I was wrong. The dark makes everything worse.
When Mary’s psychiatrist advises a short stay at a psychiatric unit, her worst nightmares are confirmed. How can she get better in a place that fills her with dread? When she meets the other patients, she begins to gather some hope, until she realises that the death toll in the hospital is rising without explanation. Something sinister stalks the corridors and maybe she is the only one who can stop it…
Mary has to confront the Things that she sees if they are to stand a chance. But will she survive a confrontation with death itself?
Mary has always been able to see and communicate with ghosts, has strange visions and can see things that are wrong with people. When she tries to do something with this information to stop bad things happening, she ends up involved in a fatal fire and her parents want her to go into a psychiatric unit to get help as they don't believe in her visions. Mary struggles to fit in with the other teenagers on the ward and becomes curious about the high death toll on the ward beside hers. Is someone murdering the terminally ill patients?
This was a really good novella. Mary is a normal girl who is tormented with weird visions that her parents believe are a mental illness. She agrees to their request to voluntarily go into the hospital for evaluation and treatment, and you can't help but feel sympathy for what is happening to her. It takes her a little time to adjust to being on the ward and becoming friends with the other teenagers. Mary is intelligent and becomes curious about the unusually high death toll on the ward for the terminally ill beside her ward. Feeling a bad vibe in the air, Mary wants to know what is happening.
I'm never a fan of setting a book on the psychiatric ward but this book does it very well. The teenagers on the ward have a range of issues including eating disorders, anger management and addiction but they are written as ordinary kids who are dealing with various mental illness issues. I didn't find them cliched in any way and I liked all of them, which I wasn't expecting. The kids are trying to make the best of being there, bonding with each other and making Mary feel welcome. I particularly liked her lively roommate Lacey and Mo. Frankie is really the only kid who has a severe mental illness but I feel that it is done sympathetically. I think the author does an excellent job of putting us in the world of these teenagers and making us care about what happens to them.
Things take a sinister turn for Mary and her friends when there is an unexpected death on her ward and she starts to fear that one of their doctors could be responsible for what is happening on both wards. The question is, how is she going to do anything about it on a locked ward where nobody will believe anything she says, without becoming a target for the killer?
As you would expect, this is not an all action novella but the characters are great and I was quite gripped by their story. I very much enjoyed meeting Mary and I plan to read on in the series to see if the standard is maintained. I would say that it is important to read this novella before you read book one in the series. There is also another short story which covers the plot of the fire and it is called 'Spirals' which I haven't read yet.
Read January 2017.