by Sarah Rayne
Sarah Rayne's Website
Reviewed by Annette Gisby, author of The Chosen, Silent Screams and Shadows of the Rose.
The old Tarleton music hall is the subject of a mysterious building restriction that has kept it closed for more than 90 years. When Robert Fallon is asked to survey the structure, he finds clues indicating that its long twilight sleep may contain a sinister secret. Joining forces with researcher Hilary Bryant, Robert discovers the legend of the Tarleton's ghost, a mysterious figure that was first glimpsed during the era of Toby Chance, a charismatic performer who vanished suddenly and inexplicably in the early 1900s. After almost a century the Tarleton's dark silence is about to end, but there are those who find its reopening a threatening prospect. As Robert and Hilary delve into the macabre history, they both become menaced by the secrets of the past. A secret that has its roots in a shattering event that had to be kept hidden at all costs.
I really wanted to give this five stars, I've read all of Sarah Rayne's previous books and I thought they were much better than this one. Not that it was bad, it was a good story and well-written, but I just got the feeling as I was reading that there was something missing. Like most of Sarah Rayne's books, the premise is similar: old building with a secret past, with the action flitting between the past and the present.
Normally, her books have a twist that you can't see coming a mile away, but with this one I guessed it long before it was revealed and I felt disappointed. I loved the character of Toby Chance and I would have been quite happy to just have the book focus on him. It seemed flat somehow when it was about the other characters but it came alive whenever the Toby sections were there. I think the author must have a soft spot for Toby too!
It was an enjoyable and page-turning read, but I felt it could have been better.
About the Reviewer
Annette Gisby writes in multiple genres and styles, from sci-fi to fantasy, from horror to romance.
Her website can be found at