I am delighted to share my review today for Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. This is a slow burner but gradually increases in speed. Mesmerising, dangerous and tense. I enjoyed it so much I ordered a copy of his previous book, Hex 🙂
My thanks to Hodder & Stoughton for the e-copy that I requested via NetGalley. I love the cover of this book. That mountain… 🥶😨
It’s One Thing to Lose Your Life
It’s Another to Lose Your Soul
When climber Nick Grevers is brought down from the mountains after a terrible accident he has lost his looks, his hopes and his climbing companion. His account of what happened on the forbidden peak of the Maudit is garbled, almost hallucinogenic. Soon it becomes apparent more than his shattered body has returned: those that treat his disfigured face begin experiencing extraordinary and disturbing psychic events that suggest that Nick has unleashed some ancient and primal menace on his ill-fated expedition.
Nick’s partner Sam Avery has a terrible choice to make. He fell in love with Nick’s youth, vitality and beauty. Now these are gone and all that is left is a haunted mummy-worse, a glimpse beneath the bandages can literally send a person insane.
Sam must decide: either to flee to America, or to take Nick on a journey back to the mountains, the very source of the curse, the little Alpine Village of Grimnetz, its soul-possesed Birds of Death and it legends of human sacrifice and, ultimately, its haunted mountain, the Maudit.
When I read the synopsis for this book ages ago I thought it sounded great. When I started to read it though I didn’t feel it until about a quarter of the way through. Then I think I started to grasp the characters, the basics of the storyline, and the style. By the end of the book, I was so glad I had persevered as it became more and more addictive.
Nick is the adventurous one, he likes the mountains. His other half Sam, not so much, he prefers shopping and the little luxuries. Together they make a great couple. Nick and friend Augustine take on the challenging Maudit Peak in the Mont Blanc region of Switzerland. It was once known as the “cursed mountain” as I discovered after an internet search. This makes the story so appropriate as it gives the sinister vibe that makes up a large part of the story. Nick and Augustine went up Maudit, only Nick returned. He was not the same, he suffered severe facial injuries and he came back with something else. Is it survivors guilt or worse?
Guilt is something that Sam knows all about. He has a secret that he has lived with since he was a young boy. Something he has never told anyone.
The story of Nick’s recovery and the feelings he has after coming back from the mountains are something that he feels haunts him. Sam is aware of this change, but it is darker than he could ever imagine. A series of events leave catastrophic and fatal consequences for those around Nick. It is only when Nick, joined by Sam return to the Maudit, that things become more real, some answers are found and the real horror of the mountain comes to light.
From the slower and for me slightly confusing start, this book then turned into something very addictive. The beginning flitted around a little too much and at times left me feeling a bit confused. As I mentioned earlier, I did persevere and for that, I was definitely rewarded with a story that suddenly started to make sense. Some of the things mentioned at the very beginning started to fit into place, some not until near the end.
The story of the relationship between Nick and what happened on the mountain is so atmospheric, it is haunting and gives some nice horror vibes. It does also have a really good psychological edge to it. Another relationship is that between Nick and Sam, this is one that is sort of like the heart of the story, their love for each other comes through so well amidst the chaos and misery that overshadows them from the mountain.
There is a nice local, village presence to this story, one that is easy to imagine from films, you know the ones where the pub suddenly goes quiet when a stranger walks in. Or where the villagers don’t speak to you, or if they do it is only in menacingly doom and gloom tones. Talking of films, I could see this as being a good idea for a film. I will say that I am not a fan of horror films, so it is a good job it’s in a book format!
This was a really good read, it has a threatening menace that gave a feel of foreboding and danger. It did have the chills for a horror or suspense novel and there is a smidgen of superstition from the local village. An unexpected but satisfying ending and a story that I would happily recommend.
Many thanks for reading my post,a like or share would be amazing 🙂