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Carole Johnstone's award-winning short fiction has been reprinted in many annual 'Best of' anthologies in the UK and US. She lives in Argyll & Bute, Scotland, with her husband. Mirrorland is her debut novel.
Carole Johnstone's Mirrorland is a creepingly compelling psychological thriller of the highest order - a dark, suspenseful debut with haunting atmosphere and pitch-perfect pacing as thirty-something Cat returns to her childhood home after a twelve-year absence when her twin sister El is reported missing at sea. As children, the sisters spent most of their time in Mirrorland, an imaginary world located beneath the pantry stairs. The girls also grew up with their mother telling them they were special identical twins. The egg separated late, “which meant we were more than just two halves of the same whole.” To Cal, this also meant El was “my exact opposite. My reflection. My Mirror Twin.” While the police and El’s husband Ross are certain El is dead, Cal is sure she’s still alive - who else would be leading her on a treasure hunt around Mirrorland? The trail of clues draws Cal back to their childhood with tremendous edge-of-seat tension, back to Clown Café, Princess Tower and Kakadu Jungle, where she and El used to encounter Mouse, the Witch, the Tooth Fairy and Bluebeard. Where they dreamed of meeting their imagined pirate king father in an imagined future. Following this trail forces Cal to peel back - and confront - layers of trauma from the past, to remember that “bad things happened in this house… but that was a lot easier to forget when I was an ocean away from its walls." Chillingly atmospheric, this un-put-down-able page-turner is perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Erin Kelly, with the magic realist elements created by the sisters’ fantasy world giving it extra edge.
'Dark and devious...beautifully written and plotted with a watchmaker's precision' STEPHEN KING 'A dark, twisty and richly atmospheric exploration of the power of imagination' RUTH WARE 'Atmospheric, tightly plotted and utterly gripping' SARAH PINBOROUGH 'An addictive slice of Gothic' I PAPER 'Told with thumping heart and extraordinary tenderness - as much a celebration of imagination and its escapism as an examination of trauma and its echoes' KIRAN MILLWOOD HARGRAVE 'Past and present collide in this vivid, ingenious and totally absorbing thriller. An amazing debut' T.M. LOGAN, author of The Holiday and The Catch The most dangerous stories are the ones we tell ourselves... No. 36 Westeryk Road: an imposing flat-stone house on the outskirts of Edinburgh. A place of curving shadows and crumbling grandeur. But it's what lies under the house that is extraordinary - Mirrorland. A vivid make-believe world that twin sisters Cat and El created as children. A place of escape, but from what? Now in her thirties, Cat has turned her back on her past. But when she receives news that one sunny morning, El left harbour in her sailboat and never came back, she is forced to return to Westeryk Road; to re-enter a forgotten world of lies, betrayal and danger. Because El had a plan. She's left behind a treasure hunt that will unearth long-buried secrets. And to discover the truth, Cat must first confront the reality of her childhood - a childhood that wasn't nearly as idyllic as she remembers... 'The love child of Gillian Flynn and Stephen King. In Mirrorland nothing is as it appears and the kaleidoscope twists and turns will have you frantically turning the pages until you reach the gasp-out-loud ending' GREER HENDRICKS, bestselling co-author of The Wife Between Us READERS ARE FALLING IN LOVE WITH MIRRORLAND... 'Dark, dazzling, full of surprises and perfectly executed' Sheri K 'An adult fairy tale, a domestic noir and a heartbreaker, all in one' Rebecca W 'Creepy as hell and absolutely brilliant' Vikkie W 'Poignant and compelling... What an imagination to have crafted such a story' Carol C 'A beautifully written story that holds you enthralled from first page to last' Sarah M 'This is a book that will keep you awake all night' Maria P 'Hugely compelling...I found the entire book officially unputdownable!' Alexandra G