Disclosure: I received a copy of this book free of charge for review purposes only. Receipt of a book does not guarantee a review or endorsement. My reviews are my honest opinion and are not biased for the purpose of personal gain.

When Annie gets dumped just before her thirtieth birthday, she leaves Manhattan to take a teaching job upstate. She finds an apartment in the quaint town of Rowan, where everyone seems so nice. A glamourous woman called Sophie even gives her a free bottle of wine to welcome her. But something seems off about Sophie, everyone bends over backwards to make sure she’s happy.

When that psychic looked into my future, she probably saw a lot of streaming services and microwavable dinners and crying, and I don’t know…probably cats.

I was quite surprised to see this counted as horror everywhere, it kinda felt like cozy fantasy for the most part. A woman arrives in a too-nice-to-be-believable town and through a sequence of events discovers witchcraft (but don’t say the W word). We don’t really learn much about the witch, it’s more a story of Annie realising her life isn’t worthless just because she doesn’t have a man in her life.

The stronger writing was in the times it veered into darker territory. When Annie moved in there are spiders everywhere, they keep appearing and each time are a bit bigger than before. There’s a mysterious presence in the hallway. Moving somewhere new on your own can be scary, so her feeling paranoid was a great start to the book.

Ralph the spider was adorable. I think the spiders were the best part of this book in general.

She deposits a large spider. So large I can see its face perfectly without having to squint. Countless eyes and a smile. A big lively grin.

Sophie came across as a bit child-like in her need to make friends with the new girl in town. She didn’t have any substance and it’s a shame because her whole premise was good. She apparently has a haughty European accent but came across as Geordie since she says pet a lot. It would have been fun to make her a Geordie, but I’m not sure an American audience would get it.

Annie spends a lot of time going over her break-up and how it’s so hard being thirty and alone. Which gets a bit irritating, I can get why Sophie wants her to leave it all behind. But Sophie wasn’t developed enough to seem like a real person. What was her real story, we know she was persecuted, but what else?

How many ghosts does she consider not that many? I’m of the opinion that any number of ghosts is too many.

Cackle is published by Titan Books and will be available in paperback and ebook editions from 23rd September 2022. Thanks go to the publisher for providing a copy for review via NetGalley.

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