Fear the Dead. But Dread the Living.

Book Review: The Mill by Catriona Ward

Picture. Lili is not alone. Illustration of mist-filled factory hallway with ghostly young girl walking away from the viewer.

The Mill is a heart-pounding work of horror with psychological thriller elements and a smidge of sweet romance. Cailyn Lloyd has a gift for creating potent scenarios and vigorous, memorable characters on either end of the good vs evil spectrum.

Lloyd, and by extension, her lead character, have done considerable research on the paranormal, spiritualism, and arcane lore in general, which I appreciate and demand from my reading matter. Lili’s abilities as a medium and innate sensitivity to psychic phenomena and ghosts add an extra dimension to her character. I respect that she’s not in it for the money, but has found a way to ethically earn a modest income.

I also envy her the ownership of an occult/new age store, well-stocked with many books and paraphernalia I’d love to get my hands on. I understand her yearning for respect. The only ones who believe in her are those she helps to contact lingering loved ones or rid their homes of hauntings. She wishes others would take her seriously.

But, she feels compelled to help ghosts find peace and help the living cope, so she continues her mission without that validation. She’s admirably heroic.

When she moves into an upscale apartment in what was once a sprawling sweatshop-era textile mill, her talents are at once in demand.  As a tool of her trade, she uses astral projection in the mill. Being able to travel between the material and ethereal planes comes in handy to locate not one, but several ghosts. While doing so, she puts herself in the awkward position of spying on her neighbors, which adds pivotal aspects to the plot.

But the real trouble comes when, while astrally investigating, she senses a malignant psychic disturbance at the mill. As the suspense builds, she and others are attacked and the real terror begins. There are fraughtful and tragic scenes which are only suitable for mature audiences. An exorcist and even the police are called in, but powerful forces threaten to deliver the living, including herself, into the intimate company of the dead.

The Mill is another top-notch thriller in Caitlyn Lloyd’s growing body of work. I thank her, Land of Oz, and Goodreads for the gift of this book. Without any obligation, I’m recommending The Mill to any reader who appreciates ghost stories, thrillers, and psychological horror fiction.  I hope there will soon be more titles featuring Lili!


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