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Dark Echo

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3.69  ·  Rating details ·  646 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Dark Echo is an unlucky boat. Despite this knowledge, Martin Stannard falls under her spell and prepares to sail her across the Atlantic with his wealthy father. But his lover Suzanne begins exploring the yacht's past. What she finds is terrifying.

Because this boat isn't just unlucky, it's evil. It was built for Henry Spalding, a soldier and sorcerer who committed suicide
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Hardcover, 358 pages
Published August 17th 2010 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published November 20th 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Blair
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
My first impressions of this book weren't entirely favourable, due to the fact that, initially, it seemed so similar to Cottam's debut The House of Lost Souls; substitute a haunted boat for a haunted house, and the premise is basically identical. But once I started reading, all my reservations were dispelled. This is Lost Souls, but better - more confidently written, with stronger tone, pace, characterisation and narrative voice; superbly chilling, fantastically atmospheric and absolutely compel ...more
Sheila
Apr 21, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ghosts, read-in-2016
It took me a long time to read this book, despite all my Goodreads ghost-loving friends' recommendations, because I thought a book about a haunted boat would be boring.

I was wrong!

This isn't at all what I was expecting. Most of the action takes place off the boat and is about research and history. I can see how some readers might find this dull (the book slows down a bit when Suzanne reaches Southport, especially), but I was fascinated by the steadily growing backstory and especially by the help
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Kelly McCoy
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Dark Echo surprised me in a good way. I wasn’t sure what to expect because stories about haunted ships tend to be filled with cheap thrills and ridiculous characters. But this is a solid story with fantastically written characters and settings. The Dark Echo is a sailing boat purchased by Martin Stannard’s father. The family duo plan to sail her across the Atlantic but the boat’s sinister past has Martin worried. The boat was built for Harry Spalding, a WWI veteran, and his name raises questions ...more
Shelby
Jul 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: books-i-own
I loved this book. It was written beautifully. At its core Dark Echo is a ghost story, and that alone provided a complex story line. But the history and mysteries involved in this novel delve much deeper than most ghost stories. I found it interesting that while this is a fictional account, the author tastefully ties in some references that are based in reality. The supernatural elements in no way came off as cliche or overdone; in fact, I was impressed by Cottam's originality and ingenuity in h ...more
Sue
Dec 31, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of ghost stories, thrillers
Very enjoyable thriller/ghost story involving a cursed yacht with ties to an apparently cursed man who performed questionable deeds during WWI. Lots of researching by one of the primary characters who turns out to be a wonderfully strong heroine.

Not recommended for the faint of heart. There are some sections where the dread piles on thickly and I felt the need not to read late at night. But then I rushed through to the end, needing to know the story's resolution.

As a postscript: I forgot to ment
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Linda Boa
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Absolutely fantastic spooky novel - the best I've read for years; in fact I'd rather given up on the genre coming up with anything new. But FG Cottam's use of old music, crackling old radio transmissions, outfits, like spats, etc, on a haunted boat, which obviously you can't get off as you're crossing the Atlantic, adds something new to the horror novel. Highly recommended - this is his best, imho, along with The House Of Lost Souls.
Leslee
Cottam rises to the occasion again. There are strong similarities between this novel and the first of his that I read - The House Of Lost Souls. I felt that this one worked a lot better plotwise and the flow and pacing was much stronger than in his debut work, though I do think I like the storyline of the first one better.

I love the way Cottam handles the intermingling of historical figures with his modern day hauntings - something that I appreciated even more after reading the heavy-handed Sha
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F.R.
Oct 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
With laborious and wordy prose which sucks the excitement out of all the chapters, as well as some truly awful dialogue, exposition and foreshadowing, this haunted boat story doesn’t have that much to recommend it. In fact by the time the characters board the boat, so much has been dragged up about its horrible past, that it’s amazing any of them will go within a hundred foot of it – and yet still they do.

To be fair though, I did like the character of demonic jazz-age rogue Harry Spalding.

Intere
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Karl Drinkwater
The book began interesting: for the first half I was truly riveted. It was filled with eerie ideas, and I looked forward to what was going to happen. There was a great build up of tension to the point the story had been working towards, the start of the ill-fated voyage, and it left me excited at the prospect of things going up a further notch.

But then ... it seemed to just lose it. Tension and credibility floated away and all the great elements seemed to fizzle as an anti-climax. I noticed a l
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Hylary Locsin
Oct 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally posted on my blog: http://libraryladyhylary.blogspot.com ! Check it out for more reviews!

Magnus Stannard, a tenacious businessman, has made his career on unusual moves that have proved successful, resulting in a large fortune and a great deal of power. His only son, Martin, has failed to live up to this shining example of entrepreneurialism, and has always believed his father's feelings towards him to be those of disappointment. When Magnus acquires a vintage yacht called the Dark Ech
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Michelle
Dec 22, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

I was taken by Dark Echo right from the very first page. It was unputdownable.

The story was told from the perspective of Martin Stannard. He accompanied his father, Magnus to buy a boat for his retirement plan. The boat was the famous Dark Echo, once belonged to Harry Spalding. It didn't take long though before they noticed there was more to the boat. There were the unexplained accidents that befell the workers who tried to restore the boat, its enigmatic first owner, and the boat's own mysterio
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Webbweaver Reviews
This story is about a possessed boat, and the father and son duo who intend to sail her. Magnus Stannard is a rich and powerful business man by the time he buys a dilapidated boat called Dark Echo. He had seen it in a book as a child, and to the then poor boy, it represented greatness and wealth and freedom. Magnus wants to restore the enchanting boat and sail her on a trans-Atlantic route to America with his only son, Martin. This is to be his retirement.
But Martin gets an uneasy feeling about
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Stacey
Dec 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of horror


This is the first book that I have read by F. G. Cottam, and it will not be the last. In fact, I am now reading another by him. I would say that he truly is a master of the horror genre. I read many horror stories, and have enjoyed many, but only a few have ever really creeped me out like this one did. This is about a haunted yacht built in the 1920s by a questionable character named Harry Spalding. It is purchased as a complete wreck by rich Magnus Stannard with the intention of refurbishing it
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Sarah
Oct 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Two feisty heroines in different eras, an atmospheric post-WW1 setting and a villain who’s a mash-up of Gatsby and Voldemort makes this the best FG Cottam book I’ve read so far. About a year ago I swore I would never read another book by FG Cottam again. I’d just read Brodmaw Bay and loved everything about it except the ending, which I felt destroyed my enjoyment of the book. In some ways it’s a great ending and I admire the author for daring to go in that direction with the plot, but it just wa ...more
Nancy
Mangus Stannard is a wealthy entrepreneur who has risen from a poverty-stricken childhood. His dream is to sail the Atlantic Ocean from Ireland to America on a boat he refurbishes called the Dark Echo which has a dark past and, it seems, a dark present.
People have died on the Dark Echo and people have died working on her. Now, Mangus wants his son, Marty, to cross the ocean with him. Marty's lover, Suzanne, is a researcher and while they plan, she begins quick work to solve the boat's mystery
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Martin Belcher
Aug 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2012
F.G.Cottam never fails to entertain, I loved Dark Echo a truly creepy ghost story set on and around a boat called Dark Echo which has a truly horrific past, previously it's owners have been beset by tragedy and it's original builder, Harry Spalding is a man of hidden depths and his story is indelibly stained on the boats wooden planks.
Magnus Stannard a retired businessman buys the Dark Echo at auction and entices his son, Martin to sail the Atlantic with him. What begins as a simple restoration
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Jo Ann
This novel had alot of good creepiness factors going for it. I personally thought it could have been worth 4 Stars, but everytime the story started to get interesting one of the characters would do or say something awkward and it would destroy the moment for me. I also didn't think the ending was all that great.

(view spoiler)
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Ellen Herbert
Nov 18, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Best of all of the Cottam books so far. Researched so well and completely chilling. Had to put it down at one point as it was doing the job of a proper ghost story too well. The characters are so well drawn, we see their flaws and feel their hope. The presence of evil is palpable. The intertwining of history, heroes, relics,family tragedies and triumphs and the pugilists stamina to persevere all weave together in a most satisfactory fashion. If you read it alone or in the late hours, keep a ligh ...more
Ceri
Apr 02, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror, ghosts
Dark Echo- FG Cottam
After giving up on The Summoning, I didn't have high hopes for FG Cottam but this was vastly better. That isn't saying much because I still didn't love this. A promising premise of a cursed/haunted yacht, a strong villain and an early sense of foreboding are let down by a plot that while unravelling a mystery that's never really mysterious, also never builds to any real climax. Well written and interesting, but ultimately never lives up to its promises.
Gayle Noble
Jul 05, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Gayle by: Archaeology, History, Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, Forensics, Depeche Mode, Supernatural (the TV series), Reading, Academic Study, Playing Tomb Raider games
Shelves: horror, ghost
This is the third book I have read by this author and I find them incredibly frustrating. The author is good at building up a story with tension and promise of a cracking ending or plot twist coming up and then...nothing. I enjoyed the first two thirds of the book but found the ending extremely weak and a real disappointment.
Michael
I was lured by the creepy appeal of a haunted boat, and on that score, the book delivers; there are plenty of suspenseful, chilling moments, and there is an eerie boat.  However, it wasn't quite what I had in mind.  For one thing, much less of the action takes place on the Dark Echo than I expected.  For another... Well, I can't go into details without potentially spoiling the whole thing.  (If you don't mind spoilers, see the next section.)

I'd recommend this novel to fans of ghostly horror who
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Alyson
May 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
For some reason the book took me ages to read - there seemed to be a lot of writing in there, not necessarily always moving the plot forwards.

I don't normally read ghost/ paranormal books, but someone passed the book on to me. It had interesting characters and enough intrique to keep me going.

I spotted two glaring continuity errors though. On p.186 they set sail from Southampton Harbour. On p.188 Suzanne was thinking about how they had set say from Portsmouth Harbour.

On p.330 she arrived somewh
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Mina Melo
May 16, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
DNF

I read reviews and thought I would love this book.
I was wrong. I checked out 5 books from the library, including this one but I realized
I'd never get to the others if I continued trying to finish Dark Echo. I've read and enjoyed
Tolkien, I know wordy books can be difficult to get through but Dark Echo just
could not keep my interest. I wasn't really invested in the main character and I just...
I had to quit. I made it over 100 pages in so believe me I tried.
Amanda
Mar 12, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As intelligent and structured as this story may be, I still feel as if it could have been better. It all felt rather anorexic on the whole; as there was plenty of potential for the confines of this story to be more fleshed out. However, Cottam is a superb writer and I rather enjoyed his style of writing at times, despite the fact that the first half of this story is rather yawn-inducing. Not quite the thrilling read I was expecting, but still a great story overall.
Sandy Benitez
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The cover art is hauntingly beautiful and the mix of cursive font next to the simple font works perfectly (yes, I'm a geek, I notice things like this).

The characters are well-defined. Martin has always lived in the shadow of his successful, adventurous father Magnus. Suzanne seems very intelligent and has a natural inquisitive nature which lends itself well to her skill as a researcher. She also bears a striking resemblance to a lady named Jane Boyte who becomes a part of the mystery later in th
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Tamar Love
I am a huge fan of House of Lost Souls, so I was eager to read his second book, Dark Echo. Unfortunately, although readable, his "sophomore" book was, well, sophomorically written.

I agree with one of the other reviewers that the plot wasn't particularly innovative: haunted boat, deals with the devil, madness and murder. That wasn't a problem for me. If handled effectively, it doesn't matter if the road is familiar -- I like the journey, if the writing is first-rate. In Dark Echo, it is not.

The c
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Quiet
Sep 28, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spooky-ghosts
Rather easy ghost story to read, and does everything somewhat above-par for the sensational/ultra-accessible language employed. There's a bigger emphasis on history than there are immediate scenarios, the history being the 20's and centering largely around Collins, the Irish resistance fighter, and a fictional character, Harry Spalding, who is a dashing millionaire who is a Gerald Murphy type and who boxed Hemingway and outdrank Fitzgerald and all of that other stuff make-believe characters from ...more
Chris
Apr 04, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chris by: goodreads
I must admit I'm very partial to anything that begins with
Rouen, September 1917
I spent a glorious week there in 2007 and I shall forever be in love with the place.
You don't care? Fair enough.

This is a ghost story about a self-made magnate who buys a boat and asks his son to help him sail her across the Atlantic. But something is very wrong with this boat and her first owner. Very, very wrong.

The story is beautifully written. There's a slow build-up of tension and anticipation and then you get a
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Victoria
I accidentally took a break from this book (forced by my own forgetfulness when I left it behind), but actually ended up liking the book more post-break than before. Martin’s narrative - particularly in the beginning of the novel - with its overload of quotidian detail, had a tedious start. But, Cottam did manage to give the book a sort of timeless, old-fashioned feel with the writing style which did suit the characters well. The WWI connection added an interesting layer to what would otherwise ...more
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974195
Reading is a cheap and totally effective way of being transported to another world. The same is true of writing. Mundane concerns only afflict your characters if you decide you want them to.
University was where I first thought seriously about fiction; hearing about Hemingway's iceberg theory and Eliot's objective correlative and having the luxury of time to ponder on the mechanics of the novel.
My
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