Sundial by Catriona Ward – Book Review

Title: Sundial

Author: Catriona Ward

Genre: Thriller/Horror/Mystery

Publisher: Viper

Publication Date: 6th October 2022 (Paperback)

Rating: 5/5



Rob is afraid of her daughter.

Callie collects tiny bones and whispers to imaginary friends, and Rob is afraid of what she might to do Annie, her younger sister. She sees a darkness in Callie that reminds her of the family she left behind, and a life she has tried to forget.

Seeing no other way to keep Annie safe, she decides to take Callie back to Sundial, her childhood home deep in the Mojave Desert. And there she will have to make a terrible choice.

Callie is afraid of her mother.

Rob has begun to look at her strangely. To tell her secrets about her past that both disturb and excite her.

And they are both afraid that only one of them will make it back from Sundial alive…


I loved the mind-bending The Last House on Needless Street so I had high expectations of Catriona Ward’s latest, Sundial, and I can confirm those expectations were met and more! I really don’t want to give much away relating to the plot (although do check the trigger warnings before reading) because it’s one of those books that works best if you go in relatively blind.

From the first page to the last, I was utterly gripped by Sundial. Ward is exceptionally skilled at creating an atmosphere of foreboding that pervades every page. Her writing is visceral in a way that sometimes makes you want to turn away and yet keeps you turning pages. She is particularly good at imagery relating to animals. There were instances of violence surrounding animals that I found uncomfortable and hard to read, however it feels integral to the story in a way that never feels gratuitous. Sundial is psychological horror at its best – genuinely unsettling, nightmarish and yet undeniably compelling. Nothing is ever quite what it seems in Ward’s books and that is chillingly true concerning the toxic familial relationships at play in Sundial. Dark, disturbing and truly original – I’d highly recommend this intense book!


I very kindly received a copy of the book from the publisher. My review is entirely my own honest opinion.

Buy the book:

Waterstones | Blackwell’s | Amazon

3 thoughts on “Sundial by Catriona Ward – Book Review

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