What’s it all about?:
Seventeen-year-old Veerle is frustrated with life in suburban Brussels. But a chance encounter with a hidden society, whose members illegally break into unoccupied buildings around the city, soon opens up a whole new world of excitement – and danger.
When one of the society’s founding members disappears, Veerle suspects foul play. But nothing can prepare her for the horror that is about to unfold when an old foe emerges from the shadows… No one is safe, and The Hunter will strike again…
What did I think?:
I’m really excited to introduce everyone to an author new to me and one I’m ever so glad I discovered – Helen Grant. For the next few days I shall be reviewing her Forbidden Spaces trilogy which begins with Silent Saturday, followed on by The Demons of Ghent and finishing with Urban Legends. The day after that I shall be featuring an interview with the lady herself and hopefully by that time I will have persuaded anyone who hasn’t read her before that this is an author well worth trying!
The series is set in Belgium, a beautiful country which Helen has actually lived in herself so I was confident about the authenticity of the setting and was certain I was in safe hands with the narrative as I began to read a gripping and incredibly thrilling story that will both terrify and excite you in equal measure. The descriptions of Brussels and the surrounding area are so intricate that you leave the book feeling like you know the country inside out and I love it when I can picture a setting with such clarity.
Our heroine is seventeen year old Veerle de Keyser who when we meet her is struggling in her relationship with her mother. Claudine is extremely over-protective, relies on Veerle a great deal both emotionally and practically and is beyond paranoid about many issues, but particularly the security of herself and her daughter. Veerle loves her mother a great deal but gets very frustrated with many aspects of her behaviour so, as an outlet, she loves to visit the local climbing wall and becomes very adept at clambering around in tight positions.
As with all aspects of mental illness, there are reasons behind Claudine’s fears and one event in particular greatly affected her relationship with her daughter. It involves something terrifying that Veerle witnessed when she was younger with her childhood friend, Kris Verstraeten, that we will see in this trilogy, returns to haunt her. Kris returns to Veerle’s life after about a ten year hiatus where the two have barely spoken and introduces her to a fascinating new prospect that she cannot resist. The group is the Koekoeken (meaning Cuckoos) and they are a group of people that explore abandoned or uninhabited buildings, for example – residents who have gone on holiday, millionaire’s mansions where the owner is out of the country and a rather spooky and crumbling old castle. It’s not all law-breaking and vandalism however, the group have an unwritten rule that they do something for the house before they leave i.e. a bit of maintenance as a thank you for the use of the building.
Both Veerle and Kris thoroughly enjoy exploring various establishments together and perhaps as expected, develop feelings for each other. However, their world is about to be unbelievably rocked when one of the group is brutally murdered. When certain other members of the Koekoeken seem to be targeted by a ruthless killer with a thirst for violence, Veerle and Kris are terrified that they could be next. Can they go to the police though when they themselves have been technically breaking the law by breaking and entering several properties? The killer appears to have them right where he wants them… and he shows no sign of stopping.
On first reading the premise of this book, I have to say I was beyond excited. I loved the idea of a group exploring empty buildings but doing something nice for the owners on the way out. However, I was not prepared for just how thrilling this novel would be. We get a little insight into the killer – De Jager, or The Hunter and oh my goodness, he is one of the most dark and disturbing villains I have ever read about. I knew beforehand that this was a young adult trilogy but don’t let the genre put you off the author does not skimp on the darkness or the horror of certain situations. In that way, I probably wouldn’t recommend this series to the faint-hearted or much younger readers but then again, if you can handle a bit of heart stopping terror – go ahead, it’s perfect! Silent Saturday is a wonderful start to what I’m certain will be a brilliant trilogy. Try it…. if you dare?
Come back tomorrow where I’ll be reviewing the second book in the series, Demons of Ghent!
Would I recommend it?:
But of course!
Star rating (out of 5):