Dead on time

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THE Dead Room, the eagerly awaited new novel from Portstewart author Philip Henry, goes on sale this week.

It’s a ghost story set in an abandoned mansion in Aghadowey and is guaranteed to have you sleeping with the lights on.

When a newly married couple inherit a country mansion they think their dreams of opening a bed and breakfast are within their grasp, but the house holds a terrible secret - the dead are not at rest here.

A TV producer is interested in investigating the house, but it means coming back to her childhood home and stirring up a tragic past that she would rather forget.

The TV crew agrees to spend a week in the house, looking for evidence of paranormal activity. What waits inside for them? Who walks the corridors in the darkness of the night?

And who will dare to unlock The Dead Room!

Philip’s 2011 novel, My Ivory Summer was his first attempt at a book without a supernatural element.

“I was dubious about stepping outside my comfort zone,” says Philip (pictured), “but the novel was very well received by everyone.”

As well as great critical acclaim, My Ivory Summer was entered for the National Self-Publishing Awards 2012 and out of the hundreds of entries made it down to the final five.

The Dead Room, however, marks a return to the genre that Philip loves most. “I don’t know what draws me to the supernatural, I’ve just always had an interest in myths, legends and the unexplainable”, Philip says. “Also, I’ve never done a ghost story before, so it was a challenge to come up with a new twist on a very well-worn genre.”

The Dead Room is also Philip’s longest novel to date, coming in at just over 111,000 words. As usual Philip incorporates a few nuggets of local history into his fiction, a device he claims he uses to keep the readers wondering where the facts end and fiction begins.

This year has also seen the release of The Ghosts in the Glass & Other Stories, an anthology of short stories by Northern Ireland writers with proceeds going to Action Cancer.

It features Harland & Wolf, a short story Philip wrote a few years ago for another anthology that never made it to publication. “I like that story a lot, so I’m glad it finally found a home in a collection that’s supporting such a worthy cause.” Philip.

Philip will be doing a book signing in the Coleraine branch of Waterstone’s from 3-4pm on Monday, October 29.