Andrew Pyper gleaned good reviews for Lost Girls, a novel with a nuanced grasp of psychological suspense rare in today’s writing. The new book arrives with encomiums from Gillian Flynn and Lauren Beukes, neither of them slouches when it comes to disturbing readers, so it’s no surprise that The Damned employs similar strategies to those writers. Twins Danny and Ashleigh Orchard are very different personalities: Danny is withdrawn and shy, while Ash is both popular and beautiful. Ash, however, has another less attractive character trait: she is a monstrous psychopath who feeds on the pain of others. The twins are the victims of a fire on their 16th birthday which leaves Ash dead. Danny is granted a grim legacy: the presence of his terrifying late sister. Those who remember Thomas Tryon’s novel The Other will have an idea of what to expect, but Pyper is his own man and this is a book that will firmly keep sleep at bay.
The Damned, by Andrew Pyper, Orion, RRP £12.99, 328 pages