Book Review: Too Near Dead by Helen Grant. null
Too Near Dead by Helen Grant. null
Published: July 1st 2021
Page Count: 296
Sometimes it’s terrifying, loving someone this much… For Fen Munro and her fiancé James, it is a dream come true: an escape from London to a beautiful house in the stunning Perthshire countryside. Barr Dubh is modern, a building with no past at all. But someone walks the grounds, always dressed in lavender. Under a lichenous stone in an abandoned graveyard, a hideous secret lies buried. And at night, Fen is tormented by horrifying dreams. Someone wants Fen’s happiness, and nothing is going to stop them—not even death…

This book was provided for free by the author in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to NetGalley and


Content Warning


There are quite a few disturbing scenes in this book. There are scenes of being buried alive, of being trapped in a dead body, of being in a body and being unable to move, and other scenes of a violent nature.

Please Note - This post contains Affiliate Links. Click for more information!
This means that as an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programmes I earn a small commission from items purchased using links featured in this post at no extra cost to you. Click here to learn more.

First Impressions

I’m still not sure what it is about Too Near the Dead that drew me in.  When the review request arrived in my inbox I looked it over, pondering it and then kept coming back to it until I had to finally admit that I wasn’t sure whether I would like the book, but there was something about the synopsis that was nagging at me. The synopsis suggests a book that could be pure horror, perhaps a paranormal story or just a plain old thriller. I’m not sure whether Too Near the Dead is going to end up being contemporary fiction, or something that is very much my type of story. And yet there I was going back to it again and again until I had to admit that I needed to know what happens in Too Near the Dead.

That is the sign of an excellent synopsis.

Does the book hold up to that standard? Let’s find out.

Book Review: Too Near Dead by Helen Grant. null

The Review

The answer, as you can see from my rating, is yes; the calibre of writing in Too Near the Dead held up nicely. Grant whisks the reader away to a remote area of Perthshire for a ghost story that will chill you to your bones – and that is coming from someone who does not get chilled to the bones. I have read many horror books and some really odd and weird horror stories in my time, and very rarely do I find myself getting freaked out. However, one night when I was home alone, and I was reading Too Near the Dead I realised very suddenly that I was home, alone, in Scotland on a cold autumn night with just a cat to keep me company. Let’s just say I’m glad that I live in a town near Glasgow and not out in a more rural part of Scotland…

Too Near the Dead is a nice mixture of genres that will appeal to a variety of readers. For me, a horror and fantasy fan, there was just the right blend of the supernatural and horror elements with contemporary to keep me hooked. Likewise, this is very much a thriller and a whodunnit mystery that spans a few hundred years. Mix in local history and urban legends, and you’re beginning to get a feeling of what Too Near the Dead is like. It’s all held together by Grant’s wonderful storytelling, which is so good that I was several chapters into the book before I realised it was in present tense, something I normally hate and find quite difficult to read. I had zero issue with it in Too Near the Dead.

Fen was a brilliantly genuine protagonist who I appreciated for not being overdramatic, and the same could be said for her fiancé James and the other supporting characters. There is a scene in Too Near the Dead where Fen and James have to deal with a major relationship issue, and in most books it would have become the biggest drama fest in the world. Instead, after the initial argument, they talked about it like the mature adults they were. It didn’t go on for days or end up growing into a huge thing. It’s one of the few times I’ve seen a couple argue in a book and felt like a real life couple was actually being represented. I also really enjoyed the glimpses into the world of publishing and editing offered by Grant through the eyes of her characters. The level of detail given to Fen and James’ history made the story much more interesting and helped me connect with them easier as a reader.

Book Review: Too Near Dead by Helen Grant -My book review for Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant, a horror story that left me chilled to the bone! null


Too Near the Dead is one of those books that teaches you to step outside your comfort zone from time to time because you will find a hidden gem. I certainly did with this one, although I won’t be making the mistake of reading something by Helen Grant while home alone again! If you’re looking for a spooky read in the run-up to Halloween, then this is a great one to get you in the mood.

Helent Grant. null
Meet the Author

Helen Grant

Helen Grant (born 1964 in London) is an author of novels for young adults, now based in Scotland. Her first novel, The Vanishing of Katharina Linden, was published by Penguin Books in April 2009.[1] It was shortlisted for the Booktrust Teenage Prize and the CILIP Carnegie Medal. It has also been published in Germany as Die Mädchen des Todes, and has been published in Spain, Holland and the US.
Her second novel, The Glass Demon, was published by Penguin in May 2010. It was shortlisted for the ITW Awards Best Paperback Original category. Her third novel Wish Me Dead was published in 2011 and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Medal.
In addition to her novels for young adults, she has been a regular contributor to the M.R. James Ghosts & Scholars Newsletter. Her short and non fiction have been published in Supernatural Tales, All Hallows and by the Ash Tree Press. She has also provided a new translation of E.T.A. Hoffmann’s Das Öde Haus in The Sandman & Other Night Pieces (Tartarus Press).
Helen’s most recent novels are Silent Saturday (2013), Demons of Ghent (2014) and Urban Legends (2015), which form a trilogy of urbex-themed thrillers.
In 2018 Helen’s new novel, Ghost, will be published by Fledgling Press. Ghost is the first of Helen’s books to be set in Scotland.

You can find out more about her work over at her website. You can browse her books on Goodreads. Or connect with her on social media; she’s on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

Books by Helen Grant

Interested in more books by Helen Grant? Check out a selection of titles in my store.

Over to you

Thanks for reading my review for Too Near the Dead by Helen Grant! What was the last spooky book you read? Let me know in the comments 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of my reviews if you’re looking for some more book recommendations 🙂 You can also now sign up for my newsletter to get an email each month with a list of my new reviews!

Try Kindle Unlimited for 3 Months Free!

You can check out many other great books on Kindle Unlimited. Sign up today and get three months free!

Support Just Geeking By

I hope you enjoyed this post! If you did please consider sharing it on social media using the nifty buttons at the end of this post <3

If you enjoyed this content please consider helping to support my blog. You can do this in multiple ways (click here to find out how!) or by donating via Ko-Fi to help me reach my current goal.

Buy Me a Coffee at


    This cover looks really gothic to me. I appreciate the content warnings too! I usually don’t like to read a horror book unless I know what I will be reading because I hate being surprised with something that may upset me.

    1. Author

      Welcome! Reading should be fun, and I think half the fun with horror books is being scared but also knowing you’re safe at the same time.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.