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Black Cairn Point | Claire McFall | Review


Black Cairn Point is the story of a camping trip gone wrong. 

Whilst in an isolated area of Scotland a series of events that can only be explained by the supernatural leave just two survivors; Heather and Dougie. The story is recounted through the eyes of Heather who, thanks to that fateful trip which left Dougie in a coma, is left alone with her sanity being questioned by everyone including her own family.

The group of five teens which also includes Emma, Martin and Darren, head out to the middle of nowhere armed with camping gear and alcohol to celebrate Dougie's birthday. Whilst out exploring Martin, Dougie and our narrator Heather come across some ruins which aspiring Archaeology student Dougie identifies as a tomb... or cairn. Inside they find an old brooch and make the mistake of removing it from the cairn, taking it back to their camp. Soon after the teens begin to disappear one by one under mysterious circumstances and Heather starts to believe that they have disturbed a vengeful spirit.

If I'm being completely honest I'm not usually one to opt for books with a supernatural element however the rest of the blurb (including Hot Key's key which says the book contains isolation, suspicion, survival and danger), plus pretty front cover caught my eye whilst browsing the stalls for new reads at YALC. This particular novel sounded so interesting that Ria picked up a copy as well!

The novel switches between present day and Heather looking back, explaining what happened on the trip allowing the reader to slowly piece everything together. Having recently read quite a few other titles within the thriller/mystery sub-genre of YA I was pretty sceptical about Heather due to the unusual circumstances and spent a lot of time questioning whether she was a reliable narrator. I didn't love the other characters either but somehow that didn't manage to take away from my enjoyment of reading their unique story.

As horror goes the events of the actual camping trip felt uneasy with a chilling atmosphere but didn't necessarily scare me as I read. The same can't be said for the later chapters detailing Heather's present day life trapped in a psychiatric ward accused of being 'crazy' simply for trying to explain what she saw out in the middle of nowhere. With Dougie still in a coma Heather can do nothing but wait for him to wake up and prove that she is telling the truth, attending appointments with Dr Petersen and sitting alone in her room at the facility.

The ending of the book is definitely one that will divide opinion amongst readers, although I'm happy to say that I really liked the conclusion and found it to be very fitting considering the creepy tone of the novel.

So would I recommend picking up a copy of Black Cairn Point? In short, yes. This quick read is intriguing and perfectly creepy, although I wouldn't suggest taking it with you on any camping trips!

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