Book Review: Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber

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Title - Ward Zero: The Dead Ward
Author - Linda Huber
Publication Date - October 1st 2016
Format - Kindle Edition (Provided by author)
Pages - 228

Horror swept through her. Had she been buried alive?

On Sarah's first visit to see her foster mother, Mim, in Brockburn General Hospital, she is sucked into a world that isn't what it should be.

Someone is lying, someone is stealing. And someone is killing - but who? With a grieving child to take care of, as well as Mim, Sarah has to put family first. She doesn't see where danger lies - until it's too late.

If you think you're safe in a hospital, think again.

Ward Zero: The Dead Ward is the second novel I've read by this author, the first being The Attic Room which I picked up on a whim while browsing the Kindle store. It didn't disappoint, and when I was contacted about reading and reviewing Linda's October release, I jumped at the chance to do so! If you know me at all then you'll know that as well as my first love, which is fictional romance, I adore a thrillingly gripping, creepily-told novel, and Ward Zero: The Dead Ward looked exactly that. I couldn't wait to dive in and see what Huber had in store for me this time.

In Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber, readers are introduced to Sarah. Just back in the country and excited about being reunited with her foster mother Mim, Sarah is disappointed to learn that, rather than greeting her at the airport as they'd originally agreed, Mim is holed up in Brockburn General Hospital. Once out, and after a devastating turn of events, Sarah, Mim and young Frankie are whisked into a world of darkness and deceit as they're dragged into circumstances they didn't see coming in a million years. Murder, lies and corruption.

Huber opens her novel with a particularly chilling prologue that captures a real sense of dread and ugliness that remained with me throughout the rest of the book. In third person narrative, we're introduced to another character, although this one remains nameless, and it becomes clear pretty quickly that their intent is malicious and incredibly evil. Throughout the remainder of the novel, we return to this person and are kept up to date on their movements and thoughts, only ever heightening the curiosity as to who the person is and what on earth they are going to do next. I loved this aspect of 'not knowing'. It made my skin tingle with apprehension and, as Huber continued to tell this story, I found myself trying to figure out who the mystery person was. It was a thrilling and grim guessing game, in which Huber's characters were the play-things. I couldn't help thinking, 'who's next?'

I really enjoyed the family dynamic between Sarah and Mim, and felt this added a softness to the book that balanced it all out nicely. Between the grisly details of secretive goings-on, the cups of teas and conversations between Sarah, Mim and Frankie appealed to me greatly, and these moments allowed the characters personalities, traits and unique characteristics to truly shine through. I also loved the relationship between Sarah and Mim. The closeness between them was wonderful and, again, added a certain tenderness to the novel. Sarah was a brilliant character, and her fierce loyalty and protectiveness over her loved ones was evident from page one. Learning of her background and the sadness she'd suffered explained why she held so tightly to her loved ones and it warmed me inside out. Mim was also fantastic and I adored her motherly tendencies that she felt towards Sarah. Her position as a foster mother had me warming to her immediately, and despite her injuries, Mim's nature was one that appealed to me greatly. Caring and kind and nurturing, I could see why Sarah adored Mim as much as she did. As for Frankie, she been through a hell of a lot so it was understandable why, at times, she was almost impossible to break. Distant and distressed, Frankie was taken in by Mim, and I couldn't help feeling that this really was the best place for the girl to be. Alongside two women who knew how to take care of her better than anyone. She was safe here, but I couldn't be sure if the same could be said for the others.

The sense of urgency that Huber created was a very welcome addition to the telling of this novel. With each chapter, I felt myself growing more and more curious as to who was behind the grizzly happenings in the book, and found myself keenly studying each character who seemed to be getting closer to Sarah, friendship/relationship wise. It was riveting, and so very dark and disturbing, especially taking into consideration the whole hospital setting and the focus Huber maintained on it. Aside all of this, there was also the aspect of stealing and lies, which left me feeling unsettled and particularly creeped out. It had me wondering how well you really know the people around you, and how easily it is to become fooled when you least expect it.

All in all, Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber was a disturbingly dark and deceptive novel that kept me on my toes right the way through. It was a gruesome guessing game, portraying brilliantly how easy it is to be blindsided, even by the people you trust most. Full of deceit and lies, greed and trickery, I thoroughly enjoyed Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber, and I think it would appeal to any fans of psychological thrillers with an undercurrent of creepiness it's hard to ignore. Becca's Books is awarding Ward Zero: The Dead Ward by Linda Huber with four of my bookish stars. Special thanks to the author for providing me with a review copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

About the author
Linda Huber grew up in Glasgow but has lived over half her life in Switzerland, where she works as a language teacher and writes psychological suspense novels.

The inspiration for her books comes from everyday life - a family member's struggle with dementia (The Paradise Trees), the discovery that a child in her extended family drowned in the 1940s (The Cold Cold Sea), a friend's homes on the Isle of Arran and in Bedford (The Attic Room). Chosen Child, her latest release, is set in beautiful Cornwall, where she spent several happy holidays in her youth.

Linda's fifth psychological thriller will be published in autumn 2016.

You can find Linda Huber on Facebook | Twitter |

1 comment :

  1. Really appreciate your kind review - you picked up exactly what I was trying to do with my characters! Thank you so much.