Skip to main content

Frozen Charlotte by Alex Bell

Frozen Charlotte is the third novel written by Alex Bell who has seven books to her name, some of which belong to the horror genre.  Frozen Charlotte, a young adult novel, is a creepy, strange, mysterious ghost story.  It is a terrifying read for much of the novel especially once the reader intuits just what is actually afoot regarding one of the characters.

Following a frightening and bewildering incident with a ouija board cell phone app in a cafe, Sophie's best friend, Jay, drowns in a freak biking accident on the way home.  Dealing with her grief over Jay's death and determined to find out exactly what happened that night, Sophie travels to the Isle of Skye to stay with her uncle and cousins, Cameron, Piper, and Lilas, over vacation while her parents go on a long planned trip to California.  By the end of the novel this inciting mystery will be eclipsed by the story of the disturbing evil that is source of the nail biting horror.

Sophie fears she and Jay unleashed the ghost of her long dead (and possibly vengeful?) cousin, Rebecca, who froze to death one night at the bottom of a cliff near the family home.  However, Rebecca's death is shrouded in mystery and is far more terrifying, cruel, and cold hearted than it initially appears to be on the surface.  Rebecca's death was merely the beginning of a baffling run of unfortunate incidents for the family.  In short order their mother suffered a nervous breakdown from the grief over her then youngest child's demise and was committed to a psychiatric hospital; Cameron suffered a debilitating burn to his right hand in a strange accident that ended his promising music career even before it began.  Lilas suffers from a phobia of bones that nearly killed her when she tried to cut out her own collar bone; and uncle James paints strange portraits of Piper as a mermaid.  Strangely the only Craig child who hasn't suffered an injury is Piper.

Upon Sophie's arrival at the family's isolated boarding school turned family home on the bluffs of Skye, she finds them fanatical about keeping the gate locked lest another family member fall to their death from the cliffs.  Sophie is also puzzled by odd family dynamics.  There's inexplicable tension between Cameron and Piper.  Cameron appears determined to maintain an aloofness from Sophie, and he remains distant, difficult, and prickly even as he repeatedly warns Sophie away from the family and the house.  In hindsight the depiction of Cameron's behavior is obviously intended as a red herring especially when examined in comparison to Piper's bright, positive, seemingly innocent demeanor that is later revealed to hide a cruel streak a mile wide.  Meanwhile, both Piper and Cameron try to warn Sophie about the other sibling and yet the astute reader will be inclined to believe Cameron's warnings regarding Piper.  She's too perfect, clearly manipulative, and hides a coldly cruel streak aimed at those she's supposed to love.  And Piper paints Rebecca as cruel and unhinged even as it becomes clear that Piper lies, indulges in cruel acts for her own entertainment, and hides these transgressions so chillingly well.

It is clear the family is hiding something.  And the house with its phantom children and haunted, macabre, Victorian corpse dolls (you read that right) that scratch, whisper, and sing in the dead of night from the empty room adjacent to Sophie's harbors a chilling malevolent force.  All of which make for terrifying, sleepless nights for Sophie, not to mention her waking nightmares populated by the deceased best friend who's never far from her thoughts.  These elements combine for a foreboding feeling as the reader worries about Sophie's mental state--lack of sleep can play tricks on the mind and dull judgement especially when compounded by grief and guilt.  The story gathers momentum as it barrels towards a nerve-wracking and terrifying conclusion.  The truth is chilling, disturbing, and terrifying when it is finally revealed in this nail-biting, highly suspenseful novel.

--Reviewed by Ms. Angie


Popular posts from this blog

Broken by Karin Slaughter

Before I begin the formal review there are a few things I need to get off my chest in the wake of finishing this book; I'll do so without giving away too many (or any) spoilers.
The OUTRAGE!: the identity of Detective Lena Adams' new beau; the low depths to which Grant County's interim chief has sunk and brought the police force down with him; agent Will Trent's wife, Angie's, sixth sense/nasty habit of reappearing in his life just when he's slipping away from her. Thank God for small miracles though because while Angie was certainly referred to during the book, the broad didn't make an appearance. One sign that I've become way too invested in these characters is that I'd like to employ John Connolly's odd pair of assassins, Louis and Angel, to contract out a hit on Angie; do you think Karin Slaughter and John Connolly could work out a special cross over?
Hallelujah: Dr. Sara Linton and agent Will Trent are both back. There is no hallelujah for…

Crow Lake by Mary Lawson

When the end came, it seemed to do so completely out of the blue, and it wasn't until long afterward that I was able to see that there was a chain of events leading up to it. Some of those events had nothing to do with us, the Morrisons, but were solely the concern of the Pyes, who lived on a farm about a mile away and were our nearest neighbors." from page seven
I must confess that it took me longer than it really needed to in order to finish the novel Crow Lake by Mary Lawson. The entire story is building up to the big catastrophe that forever destroys all the hopes and dreams the Morrison clan ever dared to hope and dream for its future. In the eyes of the narrator, it is even worse than the tragedy of the car crash that claimed both parents' lives one evening on the heels of some good news the family has received and celebrated. Now you can see why I dreaded getting to the end of a book that drips in foreboding like nobody's business. What can be a worse tra…

In The Woods by Tana French

"What I warn you to remember is that I am a detective. Our relationship with the truth is fundamental, but cracked, refracting confusingly like fragmented glass. It is the core of our careers, the endgame of every move we make, and we pursue it with strategies painstakingly constructed of lies ... and every variation on deception. The truth is the most desirable woman in the world and we are the most jealous lovers, reflexively denying anyone else the slightest glimpse of her. We betray her routinely ... This is my job ... What I am telling you, before you begin my story, is this--two things: I crave truth. And I lie." opening lines of In The Woods chapter 1, pages 3-4
In The Woods by Tana French, an Irish writer, is an extremely well-written and well-crafted mystery novel. The downside is that this is French's debut novel, and her website (located at does not offer any insi…