book reviews by Althea

Within These Walls – Ania Ahlborn ****

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Within These Walls
Within These Walls by Ania Ahlborn
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well-crafted, nicely-done horror/thriller which merges cult murders with an element of the supernatural.

I’d heard good things about Ania Ahlborn, so picked this up when I had the opportunity, and it did not disappoint.

A true crime writer, Lucas Graham, gets an offer that he can’t refuse: Jeffrey Halcomb, a notorious, Charles-Manson-esque killer who’s never once spoken to the press since he was jailed, years ago, says he’ll give Graham an exclusive. The resulting book will be the best-selling hit that puts his faltering career back on track and brings his family back together, Graham is sure.

Of course, there’s one catch: Halcomb has made it a condition of the interview that Graham move into the murder house; the scene of his crimes. In order to comply, the writer finds himself being less than honest with both his wife and his young daughter, desperately clinging to the hope that he can make it all come right.

The books alternates between Lucas’ story, and that of Audra Snow, the woman who was at the center of the group murder that took place back in the 80s. Gradually, as Lucas tries to uncover the grisly details of what happened and why, we see how the vulnerable Audra was drawn into the spell of a charismatic and eerily charming leader who was ready to promise Audra everything she’d always wanted most.

I loved that Lucas & his wife were ex- (or semi-ex-) goths dealing with having an emo kid.

The supernatural elements were woven in really well with the ‘real-life’ horror of the ‘true-crime’-type story. And I very much liked that the author didn’t shy away from the ending that the book needed. Very satisfying.

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