This is not a haunted house, a haunted doll or even a haunted amulet. This is a haunted mountain.
A young adonis named Nick is injured during a mountaineering accident and his life will never be the same again. His partner Sam, (his partner in everything except mountain climbing), is trying his best to be there for Nick, even though Nick is now more like a mummy with bandages covering most of his face. There’s more hiding under those bandages than a few broken bones and contusions, but you’ll have to read ECHO to find out what!
I enjoyed reading about these characters, but I didn’t like them very much, at least not at first. My emotions changed as I got to know them, and I was interested to see how they’d fare, which was why I continued reading. There were a few times when I thought might set this book down, because there was a lot of description and repetition. I learned a bit more about mountain climbing than I really wanted to, but by that time the characters weren’t in a place where I could abandon them. Strong relationships like this one are what makes great stories work, even if there are slow parts about carabiner clips and pitons.
Over and above the main characters we have the mountain itself, and its town. Haunted by generations of people, there is a combination of folk horror and an “evil in a small town” narrative going on here as well as just plain ghosts, or…echoes. Whatever you call the genre or tropes, there are some downright creepy scenes in this book, most especially towards the denouement. I just wish there had been a few more of them.
Being that I was not all that impressed with HEX, I was a little wary of trying this author again, but I am so glad I did! ECHO is a completely different type of story and I was hypnotized by certain aspects of it. I was genuinely tense and in suspense during that last ride up the mountain and so overall, I ended up rating ECHO 4/5 stars. Recommended!
Thanks go out to Tor/Nighfire for the opportunity to read this ARC in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.