‘Familiar Territory’ by Barry Durham is the second instalment following his 2012 release of ‘The Demdike Legacy’. Although this is the second book released, the two books can be read in any order and can be read independently of each other,but link together in ways that will enhance the reading experience if you read both.’Familiar Territory’ is set about a year before ‘The Demdike Legacy’ so although it could be seen as a kind of prequel, though like I said they can be read in any order.
I absolutely loved ‘The Demdike Legacy’ when I read it last June and wrote a review on my blog. After being given the opportunity to design the new covers for both the rerelease of ‘The Demdike Legacy’ and the release of ‘Familiar Territory’,I was then sent finished copies of both books for honest review.
Just a couple of disclaimers before I get into the review.
* Despite Barry Durham being my uncle I will still honour what I have always said on this blog and my Youtube channel and will give a completely honest review.
**’Familiar Territory’, even more than ‘The Demdike Legacy’, has more graphic content with regards to violence, sex and the occult so I would say that this is definitely an adult book, not YA. If you are scared easily, as I am, or don’t want to read about rape or Satanism, do not read this book! Although it does have these themes, it is a really good adult supernatural thriller based on some facts about witchcraft.
Now for the review!
I was drawn straight into this novel by the intriguing nature of fortune tellers and felt a connection with this world immediately, probably enhanced by the fact that I have previously read ‘The Demdike Legacy’. Although the sexual content was introduced pretty early on and is completely relevant to where the story goes, I, personally, found these sections a bit awkward to read, but that is mostly down to the fact that I know Barry and him having written that kind of scene was strange for me, but I’m sure anyone who does not know him would find that even these more graphic scenes are handled tactfully and are always relevant to the story, unlike in some books.
The writing as always from Barry is amazing. The prose flows really well and the reader is instantly drawn into this world of witchcraft and fortune tellers. This book, even more than ‘The Demdike Legacy’, has more aspects of the occult and that is something that I have never read about and, being scared by just about anything horror-wise, I have never seen it in a film either. Learning about black magic and other aspects of the occult that are less familiar, made this book a thrilling and mysterious read, that was genuinely disturbing at times.
Character-wise this book is very interesting. The main character, Emma, is one that I had to grow to like but the characters that are introduced for the first time in this one that are then in ‘The Demdike Legacy’ were amazing to see. I especially liked the introduction of Inspector Alf Stone as he was one of my favourite characters in ‘The Demdike Legacy’ and likewise in ‘Familiar Territory’. Lewis King is probably my favourite character in this book, mostly because I know who he is based on, and it put a breath of fresh air into the book just at the point in the plot where it became seemingly hopeless.
One of my favourite parts about this book was the police investigation; the process and the clues that are found throughout really hooked me in, as a reader, and although you already know what’s going on at points, it is interesting to see how the police deal with what is happening.
Although I did get a bit confused about aspects of the plot towards the end of the book,and I was thoroughly freaked out by some bits as some scenes are genuinely disturbing, this was a fast-paced and thrilling read, unlike anything I have ever read before. I would recommend this book, though don’t blame me if you get nightmares!