Demons of Ghent
By Helen Grant
Published by Corgi / Random House
Helen Grant's new thriller is captivating from the first page. The book opens on top of one of the three famous medieval towers in the Belgian city of Ghent. A shadowy figure is moving stealthily across the roof.
Luc is also on the roof of one of the city's towers. Why has he climbed to the top of the cathedral tower in the dead of night? Suddenly a figure leaps out of the shadows, and Luc doesn't even have time to scream. The figure grabs Luc and after a short struggle, the boy is thrown over the edge of the tower. His body hits the paving stones below with deadly, explosive force.
After the nail-biting opening chapters, Grant has the reader in the palm of her hand. She is a first-class storyteller, and her books are thrillers that actually thrill. Her latest is the second book of the Forbidden Spaces trilogy, but anyone reading Demons of Ghent first will have no problem getting caught up in the story.
After the events of Silent Saturday, the first book of the trilogy, teenager Veerle has moved to the city of Ghent to begin a new life with her father and his girlfriend. She has had to leave behind her close friend, Kris, and she misses him even though their relationship was on uncertain ground. Dad's girlfriend resents having Veerle live with them and is not shy about expressing her feelings.
Not happy at her new school and with no friends amongst the other students, Veerle bunks off lessons as often as she can. She wants to get to know Ghent, even though she feels she will never settle there. She wanders the streets, and one day she meets Bram, a young man who quickly becomes her first friend in her new home city.
Bram and Veerle have one thing in common. They both like climbing, and after a few visits to the city's climbing wall, Bram suggests some real climbing. The rooftops of Ghent are intriguing, mysterious places that offer a whiff of danger and the thrill of the unknown. Bram is into rooftops in a big way, and he doesn't have to make much effort to persuade Veerle to join him.
But recently, Ghent has been experiencing a spate of bizarre deaths. A number of people have inexplicably fallen from the city's medieval rooftops. Did they throw themselves off, or did someone push them? This is one author who will keep you on the edge of your seat as you wait to find out.
John Millen can be contacted on MillenBookshelf@aol.com