Luke Manchett lives just outside a small town in the north of England. He plays on the school rugby team, has a mum who believes in healing crystals and he harbours a huge crush on one of the girls at his school. When he receives a letter one day to tell him that his absentee father has sadly passed away, he is sad but not devastated.
When he’s called to the offices of his dad’s solicitor and discovers he’s inherited millions of pounds, all he can think of is the flashy sports car he’s going to buy to impress the girl he fancies. He happily signs the documents the solicitor flashes in front of him (even though one of them is made from goat-skin vellum, which, frankly, should have sounded some alarm bells). Soon Luke discovers he’s inherited more than money from his dad: he’s also inherited a Host of eight vengeful ghosts. Now he has just thirteen days to solve the riddle of his dad’s necromancy notes to keep the spirits from revolting.
I thought this book was awesome and has the triumvirate of a five-star book: great characters, great plot, great writing.
Luke and Elza were superb MCs and sparked off each other nicely. Mr Berkley is sly and slippery and exactly how you’d expect him to be. Horatio is weaselly and snivelling and the Host are great - well rounded, spooky, but you can still see their human aspects coming through. The only character I didn’t connect with hugely was Holiday. She was okay, but really she was just the object of Luke’s crush, one of the markers of his previous life as a normal kid. Having said that, it would have been really easy to cast her as the Pretty Mean Girl as a foil for Elza and the author avoided this, so I was glad about that.
The writing is hugely enjoyable and the author strikes a good balance between dry wit and spookiness. There are some genuinely tense, prickles-on-the-back-of-the-neck moments and the last quarter of the book where the action really ramps up had my heart thudding. I did that thing where you try to read slowly to spin the book out, but you can’t help reading really quickly because you’ve just got to see what happens next.
The plot rockets along at a fair old pace and left me quite breathless at times. It slowed down a bit in the middle where Luke and Elza basically spend a lot of time clutching each other, going, ‘What are we going to DO?’, but even this part was still a lot more interesting than a whole bunch of other books I’ve read this year.
Thirteen Days of Midnight would work just fine as a standalone, but it’s also been left wide open for a series. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out!
I received a copy of Thirteen Days of Midnight in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to Hachette and Netgalley.