Joe Nightingale is a young man haunted by the car accident which killed his mother. It was an accident, but he was the one driving, and he watched his mother die before him. Bobby Nightingale is racked by guilt when he turns his back on a friend, who goes on to commit suicide. He’s also battling a drug addiction, and a rather nasty pusher. Richard Nightingale is their father, the one person who should helping them both.. but Richard is an alcoholic, tormented by his own problems.
Hence the stage is set for Bill’s second book, The Absence. There are many layers of horror laid out here for the reader in this one. The family discover that they have inherited a mill house, and the reader is quickly shown some of it’s history, which makes for some rather gruesome and gory scenes.
It is this ‘over-description’ which has put me off reading most horror books during recent years, so I was glad to find that the book doesn’t depend on them. There is just enough to please most fans of the genre, but Bill also offers so much more. He draws on existing folk lore, and twists it into the tale, making it into something much more.
Of course, the horror in the book extends to the individuals within the family, and their battles to deal with their own issues, and with each other. None are particularly likeable, although Joe is the easiest to understand, but that doesn’t stop you being involved. I was just as interested in the resolutions to their problems as I was in the dealings with the horror aspects.
The only thing I wasn’t sure about was the Epilogue – for those of you who have read, without giving anything away, do you think it was needed?
Overall, this is a book which has more depth to it than some other horror writers manage. I hope to pick up Bill’s earlier book, Through a Glass, Darkly, as well as any future offerings.
Published by Bloody Books Apr 09