REVIEW: Black By Fleur Ferris

Published: 22nd July 2016

Publisher: Random House Australia

Pages: 276

Format: Paperback courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $19.99

4.5/5 Stars 

Ebony Marshall is in her final year of high school. Five months, two weeks and four days . . . She can’t wait to leave the town where she’s known only as ‘Black’. Because of her name, of course. But for another reason, too.

Everyone says Black Marshall is cursed.

Three of her best friends have died in tragic accidents. After Oscar, the whispers started. Now she’s used to being on her own. It’s easier that way.

But when her date for the formal ends up in intensive care, something in quiet little Dainsfield starts to stir. Old secrets are revealed and terrifying new dangers emerge.

If only Black could put all the pieces together, she could work out who her real enemies are. Should she run for her life, or stay and fight?

I started reading Black late one afternoon. Not being a particularly brave individual I went against my gut instinct and picked up the book and read it in one sitting. By the time I finished the book, it was super dark and I sat there on my bed just starring at this unnerving but brilliant book and wondering how the hell I was meant to sleep now?!

You know how there are those movies where you know something creepy is just around the corner and part of you can’t wait to find out what it is, and the other much larger part is just feeling uneasy about the whole thing? Well that was my experience with Black. Part of me wanted to know what the deal with the town, Ged and the creepy Father Ratched was and why they were picking on poor Black. But the other part of me was getting ready to hide under the covers and scream at Black for running head first into danger horror film style (e.g. girl runs herself into a corner making it easier for those chasing her). But Black’s resilience and strength of character means she always uses her head; she uses her smarts to get her out of situations and sure she might not always make the best decisions, but I was never screaming at her in frustration because of what she’d done. Black is most certainly no-damsel-on-distress and she sure as hell isn’t waiting for her Prince Charming to come save her either. Though a little help, that she could appreciate from time to time.

Hands down the most terrifying aspect of Black is not necessarily what happens in the narrative itself, but the way in which it’s not so hard to find real life people who echo the fears and mistakes of the characters in the book. In fact after finishing the book I can distinctly remember lowering the book and thinking ‘huh’, I know fanatical people like that and people who could very well find themselves in situations ‘close’ to Black’s through no fault of their own. The extremes that some people will go and just how relatively close this book is to the ‘real world’ is unnerving, disturbing and just down right terrifying at times.

What’s more the way in which Ferris has written the book is sure to make you feel uneasy about many characters and decidedly wary of everyone. Given that Black deals largely with superstitions and the lengths people go to in order to ‘correct’ them, I was immediately wary of every character in the narrative and found myself actively questioning their motives and actions, including our main character Black. Because of this I found my response to the book was heightened and once I decided on my own feelings of particular characters (could I trust them? Was it real or just inside their head?) I was so much more invested in their well being and ultimately the books outcome.

One of the shining lights in Black, is how incredibly strong (and stubborn) Black Marshall is. Not only has she proven to be one of the most resilient characters ever, having bore witness to three of her closest companions deaths and still getting up every morning and going to school, but she is also being bullied by the town Priest (Father Ratched) and a number of her school friends. Black doesn’t take any of what happens to her lying down though, and uses every opportunity that comes her way to show just how smart and witty she truly is. The limited relationships she has with people reflect real warmth and love too and it was so easy to fall under her spell.

With an authentic ear to dialogue and a great deal of respect for detail and suspense, there is no doubt that Black is one hell of a page-turner. The restricted small town country setting heightened the tension and the inferno of such town’s  personalities, while providing the most epic and terrifying backdrop for perhaps the creepiest of crimes and this oh-so-perfect-narrative.

Black is a super quick and easy to read novel that will have you sitting on the edge of your seat rushing towards the books climatic conclusion. It’s an ideal read for fans of psychological thrillers, mysteries or just your plain old thriller.


To purchase a copy of Black, visit the following online retailers:

Booktopia | Angus & Roberston’s Bookworld | Dymocks | QBD | Amazon AU | Amazon US | Ibooks AU | Google Play | Kobo 

To learn more about Fleur Ferris, visit the following social media pages:

Author Website | Facebook | Goodreads | Twitter | InstagramPenguin Random House Australia |





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