Published March 2015 by Orion
Ashleigh and Danny Orchard are twins, not that you’d ever tell by looking at them – Danny distant and shy, Ash beautiful and accomplished. But there’s a secret in the Orchard house: Ash is a monster, a psychopath who can feel only through bringing others pain.
When Ash and Danny are caught in a fire on their 16th birthday, both of them die. But only Danny comes back. Since then, Ash has haunted Danny, denying him any form of normal life … or love.
When Danny meets Willa and her son Eddie he glimpses the life he could have without Ash. To stop her from ruining his new-found happiness, Danny must venture into the frightening underworld of Detroit, where he will unearth the mystery of the night his and Ash’s fates changed for ever.
Dark and compelling, THE DAMNED is a story of how heaven and hell aren’t about death, but about the decisions we make in life.
This is essentially a ghost story with a difference. A story of revenge and personal growth, twins locked in a personal battle and a search for answers. It is about a messed up dysfunctional family, where nothing is really what it seems.
‘The Damned’ introduces us to Danny, a man in his forties who had a near death experience as a teenager,as a result of a fire. His twin sister Ashleigh, known as Ash, did not survive the event. Danny wrote a book describing his experiences of the afterlife. Unbeknown to the world, Ash continues her psychopathic ways from beyond the grave. She haunts Danny from the afterlife and appears to him regularly, taunting and tormenting.
Danny is an interesting character, who develops nicely over the course of the book. Initially he comes across as being quite weak and pathetic, overly loyal to a sister who would wish him harm. He seemed to accept that Ash was the dominant twin and did not challenge her right to influence his life. After finding a girlfriend and becoming a step-dad, Danny starts to grow up and to show some gumption. Ash had always been the glamorous shining twin and Danny was in the shadows. Danny comes out of his shell and looks for answers. He wants to know why Ash is so determined to communicate with him.
I was rather fascinated by the concepts of death and the afterlife, in the book. Near death experiences can be something as pleasant as reliving a wonderful day in your life or they can be nightmares of gigantic proportions. The dead can haunt the living and seek to harm them. And comas can take a person straight into the world of the afterlife. Very interesting ideas.
This is a book that will appeal to anyone who likes a taste of the supernatural in their crime reads. It is chilling at times, disturbing at others and just one completely entertaining read. I really enjoyed seeing life and death through the eyes of Danny.
Many thanks to Goodreads and Orion for my copy of the book!