Ouija by Zoe-Lee O’Farrell. Review

A tension fuelled horror story.

Zoe Lee O’Farrell’s debut is a suspense-filled, thrill-fest that will have the hairs on the back of your neck bristling like your Gran’s old clothes brush.

This book took me straight back to my late teens when a group of us spent a few hours playing around with a Ouija board, each of us accusing someone else of pushing the glass around. In our case, that is exactly what happened, but in this novel, the gang of six friends squatting by candlelight over a hand-drawn board in an abandoned old schoolroom, are not so lucky.

The school is the site of an horrific incident and is the perfect setting for the nightmarish events that follow. Lara, the only one of the six to have real reservations about the stunt, is shouted down by Jon, who is determined to contact someone, or something from the other side.

The characters are well drawn, and the group fits together nicely as we see their once-tight relationships tested to the limit. We all had a bunch of friends like this when we were in our teens and the banter between the friends is very realistic. The dialogue is authentic, and you can really feel the tension in the group rising as the story evolves.

I like the immediacy that the short chapters bring to the story. The novel is extremely well written, and it is hard to believe that this is Zoe’s debut.

I loved the way the tension builds as the pages are turned. Each chapter contains scary moments that are guaranteed to make you jump. If this were a movie you would be hiding behind the sofa, peeking over the top at the screen. I won’t go into too much detail as I don’t want to spoil it for you, but I will say, if you have a fear of dolls, then make sure all the lights are on before you start to read. Ouija is dark, claustrophobic with more than a hint of malevolence, and it would be a perfect read on Christmas night as you sit by the fire with a glass of Baileys.

Five big stars from me.

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