I don't think I could have chosen a better book for my Christmas time reading than Hilary Mantel's famous ghost story - Beyond Black. I always find that this is a hard time of year to keep my head in a book - I want to read but there are so many other distractions going on around me that it is often hard to concentrate on a story. I didn't have that problem with Beyond Black as it kept me intrigued from start to finish.
The book tells the story of English psychic and medium, Alison Hart who meets up with recently divorced Colette at one of her shows at a local club and takes her on as her assistant/manager/carer. As Colette slowly begins to take over Alison's business and personal life we learn more about Alison's current life and career as a messenger for the dead and her past life and traumatic childhood that led to her being in this position. As Alison begins to let in memories of her childhood her connection with the spirit world changes and it begins to have a greater impact on her life in the here and now.
I found this book fascinating and engrossing without being too sensationalist - I can imagine that it is a hard task to achieve with this sort of subject matter. I became increasingly connected to Alison and her story as I similarly began to despise Colette and the control she was trying to exert over Alison's life. The story built tension beautifully and I was hooked to the very (satisfying for me) end.