A Haunting in the Arctic

Berkley. Feb. 2024. 352p. ISBN 9780593550205. pap. $18. HORROR
Not a typical ghost story, this book alternates between two timelines: one takes place in 1901 and follows Nicky, the daughter of a shipping magnate, who is kidnapped and brought aboard the whaling ship the Ormen on a cursed voyage into the Arctic, while the other story occurs in the present with Dominique, who is exploring the wreck of the Ormen in Iceland. But something inhuman walks the Ormen’s deck—something discovered in 1901 that has waited decades for revenge. Cooke (The Lighthouse Witches) has created a story that greatly benefits from its locations and scenery, which are full of darkness, isolation, and miles of unrelenting ice. This setting creates an eerie, claustrophobic atmosphere, where both the natural and unnatural world signal that humanity is not welcome. Dominique experiences the typical ghostly sightings that others don’t seem to believe, while Nicky faces the additional torment of being the only woman aboard a ship full of men who assault her.
VERDICT The novel’s very metaphysical ending might leave some readers disappointed, but its atmosphere and harrowed heroines make this a good book to read during cold and dark nights.
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