Rating Clarification: 2.5 stars.
Disappointing and predictable, this Gothic ghost story isn't a patch on the classics of the genre such as Henry James' [b:The Turn of the Screw|12948|The Turn of the Screw|Henry James|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1327909344s/12948.jpg|990886]. The writing is uneven and the author fails to keep the suspense building often interspersing awkward/boring moments between the tense scenes, which unfortunately were all too few. Part of the problem with the tension was that it was all so predictable I didn't even feel the need to check the ending like I usually do. In other words the suspense wasn't killing me. Not that the actual story was at fault as such, it was more that the author seemed to give away too much too soon and didn't manage to drip feed bits of the story to the reader in such a way to make it a compelling page turner.
I was also left with various questions at the end, some silly some not. For instance, when was it set? The writer appeared to be trying for a classic Victorian tone, but there were mentions of motor cars and electric lights. My guess was Edwardian, but I can't be sure. Also, I was left wondering how on earth there was electricity at all out at the isolated Eel Marsh House. No mention was ever made of a generator, the narrator just flicked switches even though the house was unoccupied when he arrived. While these questions and some others (which involve spoilers so I won't mention them here) may not amount to major plot holes, they did niggle and distract which is never a good thing, especially in this type of book.
Despite my disappointment in the book, I still hold out hope for the movie. From what I've seen in the trailers, it looks like the film embraces the full horror of the classic Victorian ghost story which is something the book failed to do. The potential was there but it was just never realized by the author.