Thursday 27 August 2015

Black Cairn Point - Claire McFall

Title: Black Cairn Point
Author: Claire McFall
Publication Date: 6th August, 2015
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Two survivors, one terrible truth.

Heather agrees to a group camping holiday with Dougie and his friends because she's desperate to get closer to him. But when the two of them disturb a pagan burial site above the beach, she becomes certain that they have woken a malevolent spirit. Something is alive out there in the pitch-black dark, and it is planning to wreak deadly revenge.

One year later Heather knows that she was very lucky to escape Black Cairn Point but she is still waiting for Dougie to wake from his coma. If he doesn't, how will she prove her insanity, and her innocence?


Black Cairn Point is a baffling read that has taken me awhile to wrap my head around. I'm impressed that Claire McFall manages to combine aspects of supernatural and thriller into one, which is not something that is commonly seen in Young Adult. However, I'm not completely sold on the entire package.

The story switches between present and past to reveal the mystery, and it's the type of set up that I really like when reading thrillers. There's a sense of anticipation, which really enhances my reading experience. Yet, I found myself more invested in the present than Heather's retelling of the event. Her emotions came across more strongly in those parts, and I could really feel her despair and isolation, especially from being labelled delusional by her friends and family.

In the flashbacks, whilst Heather's voice is still prominent, I wasn't fully engaged. The mystery started off strongly and I was really interested to see where it would go. I suppose being a reader who doesn't invest time in paranormal reads, the supernatural elements in this did seem a little far fetched to me. It was possible to sense the fear and danger the characters faced but I did rush a little at the end to reach the end and discover the actual truth. Emma, Heather's friend, made the fear most believable. Her reaction to the unnatural events were spooky and grabbed my attention again.

What I liked about this, and kept me reading, was that the entire time I had to constantly question whether I believed Heather's story or if she really did murder her friends. So when the ending rolled around I was completely blown away by the revelation. It left me baffled and I did have to back and re-read some parts to grasp the entirety of the novel. Even now I'm still slightly shocked about the ending, and I definitely think it made up for the other parts that didn't hold my interest. Now that I think about it, this was the gem of the novel.

McFall has devised a plot that, even though didn't run smoothly, has left me questioning the characters even weeks after reading it. The creepiness lingers because I'm still stumped at which side of Heather to believe in. I love that she is such an unreliable narrator and it opens up to so many possibilities. I would've liked to maybe understand more about Heather and Dougie, and a better explanation behind the ending, but I guess that just adds to the mystery of things. I would say read it, just to for the ending itself.

Disclaimer: I was sent a copy of Black Cairn Point upon request from The Five Mile Press for review. This does not influence my view on this book. 

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