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Book Review: CryptTraitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond

Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond


A few years ago I went on a ghost tour of Melbourne. Our motley group of giggling teens and haughty goths trailed along behind a guide who walked us through the cobbled lanes of Melbourne, stopping frequently to point out places rumoured to be visited by those wronged during their lives. Some of the gory facts taken away that night included the fact that the Queen Victoria Market was once better known as a cemetery, as were the popular picnic grounds of the Flagstaff Gardens. (Unfortunately, the wooden grave markers dotting the area were filched for use as firewood by the poor families living in the citys north, so its impossible to know whether youre lunching atop a grave. Yum.)

One of the spookiest sections of the tour, however, involved walking through an old parking area filled with twisted sheets of twisting metal and wooden pylons that had been eaten away by time and the elements. I cant tell you why, exactly, but something about it just felt so very'wrong.'It was this, more than the stories that we heard that night, that persisted in our memories. Theres something about that sensation of perhaps connecting with that other world that entices and fascinates.

Andrew Hammonds CRYPT (Covert Response Youth Paranormal Team) series is all about teasing out our inexplicable interest in the ghostly, and with the much-haunted setting of London as his playground, theres no shortage of material upon which to draw.'Traitors Revenge, the second in the series, focuses on a series of hauntings occurring in London, largely around Parliament, and the CRYPT team is sent in to determine the motivations of the vengeful spirits. But the visitations in question arent your ordinary spook-in-a-sheet fare: these ghosts are violent, bloodthirsty, and willing to kill in the name of their cause.

Just what this cause is is what CRYPT agents Bex and Jud need to figure out, as the escalating attacks are not only putting civilians at risk, but are threatening to put the secretive CRYPT into the public eyewhich is not exactly a desirable position for a covert secret service group. But the more research the agents conduct, the more deeply they find themselves embroiled in a ghostly coup that has its origins in a famous historic event from more than 300 years ago

As noted,'Traitors Revenge is the second in this series from Andrew Hammond, and unfortunately lacks much in the way of grounding material: I would recommend reading the first in the series to get a better feel for what CRYPT is and who its operatives are. To be honest, even by the end of this I was a little hazy on the programme and its agents, and the youth aspect of the programme confused me: despite the fact that this book is billed as a YA, theres actually little to suggest this, particularly given that many of the (myriad) point of view characters are older adults.

Though the book offers an intriguing mystery that will appeal to English history buffs, I couldnt help but feel that the mystery element suffered from the narrative approach taken here. The format is one of case reportage, with time-stamped snippets involving the victims, witnesses, and of course those investigating the case. Its one that I felt detracted rather than added to the sense of dread that Hammond was attempting to evoke: its hard to become invested in characters who are introduced and killed off in a single scene, and the constant switching between points of views made it difficult to know with whom I was meant to identify, particularly since Bex and Jud seemed so oddly peripheral.

This is in large part due, I think, to the matter-of-fact writing style, which I found distanced me from the book and its characters rather than involving me in it. I love a good ghost story, but I simply found myself unengaged for the vast majority of the book. The fact that one of the POV characters was an initially unnamed individual possessed by an evil spirit referred to sycophantically as master really didnt help, eitherthis is just such an overplayed trope, and one that makes me cringe. It pains me when authors deliberately obscure the identity of a key character, and I feel that it cheapens the quality of the story being told. The book is also filled with odd moments of jargon that seem to serve little purpose: theres one scene, for example, that discusses in depth one characters sports car for no apparent reason.

At first glance, theres a lot about this book that should appeal: its full of ghosts, secret agents, spooky histories, and mysteries! But the bland, humourless writing style, the cursory characterisation and the endless point of view switches make it less engaging than I might have hoped.

Rating: star Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammondstar Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammondblankstar Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammondblankstar Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammondblankstar Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond (okay)

With thanks to Hachette Australia for the review copy

Support Read in a Single Sitting by purchasing'Traitors Revenge from

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Other books by Andrew Hammond:

The Gallows Curse by Andrew Hammond Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond Book Review: Crypt  Traitors Revenge by Andrew Hammond

The trailer for The Gallows Curse, book one in the CRYPT series:

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  1. I read case reports on a daily basis. Nothing like an impersonal accounting of an event to make it seem mundane.

    • Stephanie /

      I think the serious, mundane approach can workIve read some great scholarly accounts of fantastic events by people like Jeff VanderMeer, but it really doesnt work here. Its a shame, because theres so much about this book to like in theory.

  2. lab1990 /

    Im sorry this wasnt very good. It sounds pretty interesting, but I think Id pass on this one. I like the historical aspect and a good ghost story is always nice, though.

    Lauren from

    • Stephanie /

      I know exactly what you mean, Lauren, and I had high hopes for this one, too. Its just a shame that all those great ideas and concepts didnt quite cross over to the final product.

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