“I have been having the most frightful dreams, Ruth. Something was happening to you – something terrible. I saw someone trying to kill you, someone with the most enormous hands – “
Twelve years ago Ruth Black’s husband was killed in mysterious war-time circumstances. Since then she has built herself a new life, resettling in rural Western Australia and forging a career as a novelist. But the arrival of her Aunt Julia heralds the start of a series of unsettling events. Julia has travelled from England to warn her niece that she has forseen her murder. Ruth is not sure whether to believe her Aunt’s eerie premonition, but is startled by her knowledge of Ruth’s home, without ever having visited it. As events unfold, Ruth must take her Aunt’s warnings seriously – but how is she to stop her enemies, and who is she to trust?
Black Light is a spine-tingling supernatural crime thriller, set in 1920s Western Australia. The town of Pelican River is fictional (though loosely modelled on Mandurah, south of Perth), and populated with an intriguing cast, including the eccentric Ruth herself; her widower neighbour Gordon, who copes with his grief by inventing things and surrounding himself with dogs; and a parish priest who believes Ruth is evil.
An intriguing blend of mystery, thriller and the supernatural, Black Light is absorbing, though at times a little confusing. For example, Ruth – and it seems everyone else – is acceptant of the fact that elves populate the neighbourhood, and that Gordon can cast protection spells, but struggles with other paranormal or supernatural possibilities. Still, it is perhaps this unpredictability which make the book intriguing.
Recommended for lovers of the paranormal.
Black Light, by K. A. Bedford
Fremantle Press, 2015
Available from good bookstores and online.