Marianne Kavangh’s Disturbance is well done with such a subtle hand that its creepy factor sneaks up on you–and becomes all the more terrifying for it.

Sara and Mike live in the beautiful Old Rectory, renovated and gorgeous, with a huge back garden and plenty of bedrooms to spare. Their oldest son, James, is finishing school and soon to be off at university if he scores the marks he’s been studying for, while younger son, Edward, is on the autism spectrum and needs constant reassurance and a routine.

So when Mike’s back goes out and he’s in excruciating pain, hE must work from home and their happy household routine goes out the door. Not the best patient, Mike takes his pain and anger at being disabled out on Sara, who takes leave from her part-time lawyering job to help out at home. It’s a situation that quickly deteriorates for all four, relieved only when Sara finally hires a local gal, Katie, to walk their energetic Springer Spaniel twice a day.

Despite Katie’s lack of self-confidence, shy Sara finds herself drawn to the young girl, and understands Katie has only Sara’s best interests at hand when she encourages Sara to make friends in the village and get out of the house, away from Mike’s thunder a bit. Sara finds herself becoming Katie’s confidante, as she learns of her heartsick broken relationship to the unsuitable Danny.

Then an unspeakable tragedy occurs, followed on its heels by the appearance from Australia by Mike’s sister, Ursula, and the tension ratchets up. Soon, far too many questions are being asked, and Sara fears for her future and that of her sons. You will hold your breath as Sara holds hers, unsure what is the truth at work here.

This is a clever and complex novel, and as the readers’ suspicions rise, the mood of unease grows and expands. The title is apt, as there is a lingering sense of disturbance throughout the entire novel that advances to a smoldering climax that will leave readers reeling.