ARC REVIEW: Come Closer by Sara Gran

Title: Come Closer by Sara Gran
Pages: 165
Published by: Faber & Faber
Publication date: 1st July 2021
Genre: Horror
Format: Paperback
Amazon UK – Waterstones

Synopsis:

There was no reason to assume anything out of the ordinary was going on.
Strange noises in the apartment.
Impulsive behaviour.
Intense dreams.
It wasn’t like everything went wrong all at once.
Shoplifting.
Fighting.
Blackouts.
There must be a reasonable explanation for all this.

My review:

A massive thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!

Come Closer is a very creepy and chilling read about demonic possession. Despite being less than 200 pages, it’s an incredible short story that really packs a punch as it details the demonic possession of an innocent woman and her downward spiral as she slowly starts to lose control of her mind and body. It’s a chilling story that you won’t be able to look away from.

Amanda, who is the main character, seems to have it all. Amanda and her husband have just moved into a loft apartment and her career as an architect is progressing nicely. But a strange tapping noise in her apartment is the first sign of a demon and Amanda fails to heed the warning. This isn’t the only warning Amanda gets as many other strange events occur like a German shepherd dog who followed her everywhere suddenly not recognising her and becoming hostile towards her when she goes near him. Again, Amanda shrugs it off and continues to go about her day and by the time she realises what’s happening it’s far too late. 

Once the demon has its claws well and truly hooked into Amanda, it triggers self-destructive behaviour such as shoplifting, causing arguments and blackouts where she can’t remember what happened during that time. She also picks up habits she gave up like smoking and disregards concerns from her husband. As it’s told from the first person perspective, it makes it all the more horrifying to watch, especially when Amanda’s increasingly desperate attempts to wrestle back control from the demon yield no results. I really felt for Amanda because she is very much alone in all of this; despite being married and having a job, no one seems to realise what’s happening to her and she’s also powerless to stop it – every time she tries to tell someone or ask for help she finds she can’t get the words out or she completely blacks out and comes to later with no memory of what’s happened. Her personal and professional life start to spiral out of control as the demon works to isolate her and destroy everything good in her life. Despite the pacing starting off slow, it gradually ramps up as Amanda tries to regain control and there’s some pretty nail-biting scenes. 

I love how it also plays on the unreliable narrator trope and at times has you questioning whether Amanda can really be trusted. After all, it wouldn’t even cross your mind that someone you know is inwardly battling a demon as it possesses and controls their body and actions.

I haven’t read a book about demonic possession before, but I thought Come Closer ticked every box. It’s a terrifying read and incredibly unsettling. I loved the slow progression and the battle between Amanda and the demon throughout. I couldn’t stop turning the pages and was desperate to find out Amanda’s fate. I’d definitely recommend this to horror and thriller fans. 

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