‘Some part of me didn’t make it back when I died.’
In The Estate, Craig Saunders gives us a fraught emotionally dark trip into the mind of a man scarred by loss, tainted by drug addiction, crippled from a heart attack and clinging to life through one thing, the love he bares for his wife.
Told in first person Sam O’Donnell is the protagonist and boy has he suffered, he’s not the only one but physically life’s taken its toll. Their daughter passed away and Sam plunged headfirst into the bottomless pit of alcohol and drug addiction. His body pulled him out of this fall with an emergency stop that killed him, the heart attack left a side of his body disadvantaged and a long road of physiotherapy ahead.
To aid his recovery and start afresh, Sam and Helen move to the seaside, where their walk to the beach and the sunset, takes them through an Estate. A seemingly innocuous place, that slowly reveals its true nature, a place where nightmares are born and terror inflames, and Sam has a stranger within him, one that feeds his addictions, forever tempts him, he strives to keep it at bay but the stranger might just be his saviour.
‘She’s got no face, Sam. There’s the shape of a face, but no holes for eyes, mouth, nostrils. Blank. The thing is, even though she’s got no face, I know she’s screaming.’
First off the cover to The Estate is truly creepy as fuck, the tennis ball plays a big part in the story it’s what Sam uses to exercise his hand and represents a shadow of normalcy when the supernatural aspect of the story comes to light.
The story is well written, like all good horror we flit between nightmare, questionable sanity and stark reality, all in a catacomb of darkness. Sam is not the most likeable character you’ll ever meet but all the best characters come with a mountain of flaws and Sam has many, his most redeeming quality is his love for his wife. I love Craig Saunders, his writing and humour come closet to how I think, although I probably shouldn’t admit that. The Estate took some time to get going, it was the style of writing that kept me with it but when it got there it was worthy of dread filled nightmare.
Words by Paul Nelson, @pgnelson72