This is my first Rachel Ward book and I am incredibly impressed with her writing style, her pace, characters, settings be they gross or not, everything. She made me love a book that I would normally go nowhere near, that is impressive! So, the protagonist Carl has woken up after a major accident that leaves him confused and with little memory of, well, anything. Because he has amnesia, we learn about his world the same time he does, making for some excellent world-building and mystery-solving as we piece together what's happened to him and his brother.
The major thing about this book is that it is so very, very creepy and spooky. Carl is haunted by his brother and for a long time, he can't figure out why. This makes it even scarier as he can't stop him from hurting him or Neisha, Rob's girlfriend. When he does discover that it's the connection to water, I was a little terrified of the bathroom for a while! Even when he realises what's going on, he still believe it himself, how can he make his mum or Neisha understand that his brother is haunting him, hell bent on revenge?
Mixed in with the thriller elements is the almost normal contemporary style. Ward describes their crappy home life: father abandoned them, beat their mum, mother an alcoholic, house falling apart, both brothers getting in trouble in and out of school. This made me feel so very, very sorry for Carl and wanted to give him a hug, even when he was being ridiculous and dramatic. Plus, poor Carl doesn't just have this odd survivor's guilt, but with his memories out of whack, he has this horrible moment when he believes the dead guy haunting him and blames himself for Rob and nearly Neisha dying. It was at this point that I wanted to shake him and yell "Do you not read? Dead people can lie, you know!"
All in all, a very spooky and addictive read with great pace and characters. Carl is such a brave kid and desperately wants to do the right thing as he pieces together what happened to them all at the lake. As for the rest of his family, Rob was plain evil but I felt so sorry for their mother, being put through losing one son and the other going a little crazy. Lastly, I have to warn you, do not read this anywhere near water, you will get paranoid!
Published 2nd May 2013 by Chicken House. Thank you to the publisher for sending me a copy.