Cover Image: Greyfriars Reformatory

Greyfriars Reformatory

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Member Reviews

A haunted reformatory, a "Grey Girl" on the loose, and Emily, who knows the one thing she really can't trust is herself. This is a quick, gripping, purely plot-driven Flame Tree Press special. It's heavy on adrenaline and blood and a bit light on sense and heart. As long as you're going for "twisty thrill ride" and expect to exit the ride, shake it off, and move on with your night, this will be an enjoyable trip around the track.
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Entertaining scariness, has good characters and evocative descriptions of this creepy institution full of secrets. A bit short, could have developed more, only my opinion.
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Greyfriars Reformatory is an atmospheric, twisted tale of mental torment, and by the end, I wasn't sure who or what to believe. The book is full of unsettling moments, creepy scenes, and larger than life characters who bring out the worst in each other while they navigate the horror show they find themselves in. I feel this is a book best enjoyed if you go into it blindly, with only a vague idea what the story is, the better to experience the twists and turns.
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I loved this story and wanted to know what was going to happen.

Firstly, the theme is creepy and atmospheric. The author sets the tone of the book beautifully from the first page. You feel the same way that Emily feels as she joins the Greyfriars Reformatory. You know there is something odd about the institution and its inhabitants as soon as you renter. Not to mention, even the crew Emily arrives with feel shady. Plus, there is a strange girl who keeps looking at them from the clock tower. The author sets the pace so creatively that it immediately gives the story an eerie look.

From the supporting characters, I loved Saffy and Victoria. Saffy is the witchy queen bee of the group and made the story so entertaining. I also liked Jessica, Annie, and Lena but did not feel they were as strong as the others. Principal Quick is also a memorable character, and I found her backstory intriguing.

There are many twists and turns the author adds to keep the story suspenseful. Some of the scenes had me at the edge of my seat were when the grey girl attacks Saffy when she is swimming, or when Emily and Victoria go to Quick’s room and find something they don’t expect. The author intensifies the horror and suspense towards the climax, where you don’t know how it will all end. Moreover, the ending turned out to be a complete shock that I did not expect.

Overall, I loved this story. On a side note, I love Flame Tree Press and think they are one of the best publishers of books in this genre. Check this book out if you love horror and suspense!
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I've read a few of Frazer Lee's previous work, so I was looking forward to Greyfriars Reformatory and it did not disappoint. Greyfriars Reformatory includes several familiar horror tropes, such as isolated and creepy building, a group of teenagers and an unreliable narrator. The book is well paced and several of the characters were relatable or the very least familiar, if one has ever spent some time around teenage girls. The book has the creepiness factor that I like and I would highly recommend it if one wants to read a horror novel that builds up the tension.
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4 and 1/2 stars

I had fun with this one. This is my second Frazer Lee novel and I breezed right through it even more so than his previous work. There’s something about this one that lured me right in. Maybe it’s the clear narrative; the way events and situations are presented, the many scares, or maybe it’s just because the author knows a thing or two on how to concoct a good story. Whatever that is, GREYFRIARS REFORMATORY delivers. Atmospheric and creepy the novel places itself in the supernatural subgenre category. I really enjoyed getting spooked by the ghostly apparition who plays with the minds of these troubled girls. When creepier things starts happening later on, bingo, that's where I couldn't let go of the book. Fast paced and effective I say jump on the bandwagon and read this Lee book. I doubt you'll get off alive. My thanks to NetGalley and the publishers for this ARC.
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4 Stars!

Flame Tree Press has taken the mantle of the best publisher for dark fiction as other presses have folded and I have come to look forward to their releases from writers I know and new talent as well.  I was not too familiar with Frazier Lee, I think I had read a little from him before, but I have faith in Flame Tree to publish good books, so I was happy to have a copy of Greyfriars Reformatory and eager to see what chills the book held in store for readers brave enough to open the book. 


Greyfriars Reformatory was a home for girls who were in trouble and had little hope of finding their way through to a productive adult life.  But this was no normal reformatory school for girls.  The old building seemed like throwback to the olden days of experimentation, mental and physical, to cure the ills of the mind.  Greyfriars was that and much more.  Emily could not remember what had happened to her in the past but she knew she had been here before.  Principal Quick made that clear when she first arrived.  Emily was quickly singled out from the rest of the crowd s if she served a special purpose for whatever evil the haunted reformatory had in store for the girls. 


The girls were immediately warned about the clocktower even though they saw the mysterious grey girl up in its tower.  They were forbidden to speak of her but tasked to go about their daily duties, their reformation, as if she was not there.  Then the murders started and it became clear there was more to the reformatory than met the eye.  The grey girl seemed to have a connection with Principal Quick and yet the ties between the two were not clear.  Emily seemed to be at the center of the mystery and the other girls turned on her.  The problem is that Emily is unsure if she is a pawn or a player.  The only thing she knew for certain was that Greyfriars was haunted either by spirits or the ghosts of the past and why Emily could not remember could absolutely kill her in the end. 


I was not quite sure what to expect when I started Greyfriars Reformatory and what I got was not what I expected.  The book starts at a slow simmer that reminded me of a gothic horror novel but there was an edge to it from the very beginning.  Lee blends genres of horror to make a story that strays far from the expected.  The terror in the novel hangs back in the shadow but Lee unleashes it slowly and violently throughout the novel so the reader is kept guessing throughout.  Lee handles the story with a deft hand and keeps it moving through a set of pauses and bursts of action timed so that the story never lags yet the reader has ample time to reflect on the story.  Much like the characters in the story, the reader is kept guessing as to the true nature of the evil that lurks in the reformatory's halls. 


Greyfriars Reformatory is a conundrum of a novel.  The reader is left to guess at the true nature of the terror.  Is it psychological or supernatural or maybe a mix of both?  This is left up to the reader to figure out and even the ending of the book leaves it in question.  It is this ambiguity that makes the novel shine.  The reader is never able to get comfortable with the story so that every chapter brings new surprises.  Lee keeps the reader guessing throughout the story and the terror keeps building before coming crashing together in the violent conclusion.  It is the mind-bending blending of horror genres and the uneasiness that it engenders in the mind of the reader that makes this novel so powerful.  Greyfriars Reformatory is sure to keep the reader on the edge of his set throughout and guess the true meaning of the novel even after the final word is read. 


I would like to thank Flame Tree Press and NetGalley for this review copy.  Greyfriars Reformatory is available now.
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Emily, who suffers from a dissociative disorder, has arrived once again at Greyfriars Reformatory, an experimental reform facility for troubled girls. Only, she doesn't remember her previous visit. Strangeness abounds from the off, with too many inmates, a closed off bell tower, and a Principal who seems completely apathetic to the girls. Soon tragedy strikes, and Emily must figure out what is happening before it is too late.

I really can't say too much about this book without spoiling everything. I know I have been saying that a lot lately, and it probably seems like a cop out, but I've been reading a lot of bizarre horror lately, so please forgive me! There are some fascinating elements that really drove the story toward its conclusion.

Let's start, as always, with the characters. Our main character is Emily. She is a bit of a distant character who, initially at least, sort of goes with the flow without making too much of a splash or trying to make any impact. This is tied in with her dissociative disorder. I would like to say here that I am not familiar enough with the disorder to make any judgements on if it is represented well. And, when we discover the origin of it late in the story, it may create some frustration for readers who do suffer from it.

Emily's fellow inmates are a strange mix of complex and stereotypically type cast. You have the queen bee, the tough girl, the victim, and so on. While you are certainly familiar with these characters, they do have more to them than you might initially expect, which makes the predictable moments with them more unique.

Principal Quick I feel is the standout character here. She too falls into a role, that of the stern caretaker. But as you continue to read you find out that she is so much more than this staple of fiction.

Greyfriars Reformatory is an interesting setting. While it didn't feel creepy to me, the out of place clock tower adds some character to it. I also love how isolated the reformatory is, which adds a great sense of unease and danger.

There was a lot going on in this book, but it manages to keep its balance. Rather than being overwhelming, it served to ensure that there was always a new mystery to solve. So, while aspects of the haunting feel predictable and easy to figure out, especially if you read a lot of horror, there were other mysterious happenings working to keep you on your toes.

I came away from Greyfriars Reformatory with a racing brain and overall satisfaction with how things unfolded, especially during the final chapter. If you enjoy your ghosts with a side of bizarre, then I certainly would recommend this to you.
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Frazer Lee is such a consistant author who knows how to develop a brooding atmosphere so well without detracting from the story he is trying to tell. Greyfriars Reformatory is fast paced and has so many twists and turns. I loved the surprise ending. The book has an almost gothic touch to it which makes it even more creepy. I almost wish I had not finished it but had saved it for later in October for a Halloween read. I definitely recommend this book if you enjoy strong writing and a spine tingling ghost story.
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I’d never heard of the author before but the blurb sounded like something I’d really enjoy and I’ve been impressed by other work from the publisher. Their horror fiction tends to really stand out. I expected good things from this and I got them. This is an excellent example of creepy Gothic fiction; the reformatory is a creepy building in the middle of nowhere, the girls are plagued by suitably creepy events such as seeing a ghostly figure dubbed ‘Grey Girl’. The main character is an unreliable narrator and tells us this in the first few pages which adds to the sense of unease – just what is the truth? I liked the fact there are only eight characters in the book, making it easy to keep track of everyone. A big cast of characters can spoilt a book if not handled correctly. This is my idea of a great horror novel; scary moments, bloody scenes and the ‘Grey Girl’ reminds me a lot of ghostly characters in Japanese books and horror films, think The Ring movie starring Naomi Watts. I thought this was a great book.
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Another spooky read for the month! This one is much different than the last one, however. Instead of a voodoo laced detective novel, this one is the story of five girls living in a reformatory, a place where you go if you’ve done something horrible and need to be taught how to be different by whatever means it takes. That sounds horrible enough as it is, but there’s a twist. The Grey Girl. And of course, the horrible bullying that takes place by not only the other girls, but also the Principal. I really enjoyed reading this book, but I will admit, I had some trouble getting into it at first.

Emily is so wacked out on prescriptions that she can barely remember her own name. She arrives at the reformatory with the other four girls on a jail like bus, and the only thing surrounding the building is pure wilderness. They’re treated bad, because whatever brought them there in the first place is cause for punishment to the extreme. They’re forced into a routine that leaves them feeling hopeless, but that doesn’t stop their personalities from shining through.

The Grey Girl is something else completely. Not everyone can see her, but everyone feels the damage that she causes. Once girls start turning up dead, the rest are terrified and cling to their routine. But nothing is as it seems, and the book takes an even darker turn at the end, one that I really didn’t expect. The story kind of reminds me of that game, Call of Cthulhu, if you ever played that. Only without the cult of Cthulhu, and all the fantasy around that. I’m more referring to the part where you’re just endlessly walking through the darkened asylum, and honestly while you’re playing it, start to question whether you’re losing your mind in real life, in the process. If you’re looking for something creepy to read with a big reveal at the end, than this is something you might want to check out next.

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A group of troubled young girls are sent to the Greyfriars Reformatory. Since their arrival something seems to be off in this place and the girls start to see the ghost of what they will call the grey girl.

A fantastic ghost story with so much more to offer as we get to unravel each girl's background stories and the mystery of the grey girl. At moments it reminded me of your typical Asian horror ghost stories. The action never stops from minute one and the girls will find themselves in a bloodbath fighting for their own lives.

In a place completely cut off from civilization they will only have each other to try to survive.
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Thank you to NetGalley and Flame Tree Press for sending an eARC (ebook advanced review copy) to me for review.

Greyfriar’s Reformatory is a book I requested on NetGalley, first because of the cover. I am such a sucker for a great cover! Second, the blurb was so well written that I had to have this book. I enjoyed the all female lineup of characters. Each girl is living in this isolated reformatory for different reasons, and it isn’t until we get further into the story that we learn about their past and why they are there. I thought their back stories were interesting, diverse, and well thought out.

The plot was consistent and held my interest. There were many scenes that grabbed my attention and creeped me out… which is what I came here for! The gray girl is a creative character and has a special way of keeping the interactions with each individual girl, personal, and I loved it! I think this is a fun, short horror story with the ability to entertain late into the night! Recommended! I’m giving it a 4 star rating!
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Sadly I didn't love this one and I really struggled to finish it.  I only stuck with it because I loved the blurb and I kept hoping I would start to like it more.  I hate giving up on a horror and when I did eventually get there I did actually like the weird ending. For me this book read like a screenplay for a teen scream queen movie. Almost all the characters are teenage girls who have little depth for the most part, though their backstories were quite interesting and were probably the best bits of the book for me.

I've read a LOT of horror books this year (horror is my happy place) and maybe it's getting more difficult to find books that really grip me. Perhaps that's why this one just didn't do it for me.  2.5 stars
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It was really scary, claustrophobic and enthralling. 
Great world building and character development, a tightly knitted plot and a lot of horror. I was hooked since the first pages and couldn't put it down.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine.
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Throughout this novel of young women incarcerated in a bizarre isolated institution,  with a "Principal " and one small group of inmates,  the overarching question is: are these girls in the throes of psychological disorders,  even to the extent of psychotic breaks; or is there an implacable element of the supernatural or Paranormal? Decide for yourself.
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Flame Tree has turned me onto many great authors over the last two years, so I’m always eager to read one of their new releases. While Greyfriars Reformatory isn’t a homerun, it does introduce me to an author I would like to read more from in the future.

This story is about Emily and several other  girls that have been sent to an experimental institution run by one woman who calls all the shots: Principal Quick. She is strict and heartless. But worse than Quick is the creepy girl watching from the clocktower; not only does she supposedly not exist, she’s soon terrifying every one of the inmates with their heinous pasts.

Honestly, this story would have done better as a movie. What psychological terror Lee could have utilized to his advantage  was held back for whatever reason; instead, he favored jump scares and generic horror tropes (the ghost girl walks like a spider at times, she has long hair that covers her face, her joints click in erratic movements, etc.). I had no problem imagining it at all in my head as a movie - and that was great, really - but as a book, I frequently felt cheated by the moves being made. When I saw that Lee is a filmmaker as well, the ways of the book made so much more sense to me. Again, if Greyfriars Reformatory was a movie, I think it would be an exciting ride worth taking every October.

There was also a problem with the ending - I didn’t quite understand it. I turned to my friend for her opinion and learned she was also confused. Lee makes a point to repeat the opening chapter - in which she describes herself as an “unreliable narrator” - like that was supposed to explain it all, but I just kept searching for new lines that I couldn’t find. As a result, I’m not entirely sure what really happened. This novel was already on the shorter side without that repeated section, which leads me to wonder if Greyfriars Reformatory was actually a novella in the beginning. It may have worked better that way. But personally, I would have preferred more psychological terror to increase its girth and give it more depth.

Despite my complaints, I can see how Greyfriars Reformatory would entice and thrill readers that are looking for an easy piece of horror. There are some good backstories here, so Lee did a good job with the design of his characters. I genuinely liked them or what they represented. I also enjoyed the writing and story enough to put this author on my radar for future reading. I’ve held onto Hearthstone Cottage for the past year, but now I’ll be moving it up my TBR list.
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Don't read this book if you are by yourself at night. It will scare the bejesus out of you!
  Great atmosphere, you almost feel like you're locked up between the gray dank walls of this respiratory for girls. You will either love or hate the characterd.
 Good read.
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Emily has mental health issues. Her dissociative disorder and its behavior issues lands her in a reformatory. Not just any institution....but Greyfriars Reformatory. Creepy place. Creepy staff. Creepy secrets.....

This story is so atmospheric! I could almost place myself on that rickety, horrible bus riding to Greyfriars with the girls. This story would make an awesome movie! 

I'm not going to say much about the plot -- no spoilers. This is definitely a story that is better with absolutely NO prior knowledge of events. Don't read reviews....don't read blurbs --- read the book!!!

This story kept my attention from start to finish. Creepy atmosphere. Great character development. Excellent suspense. And lots of twisty goodness! Loved it! 

This is the second book I've read by Frazer Lee. Hearthstone Cottage is also a very good, suspenseful story. I'm definitely going to read more -- I like Lee's style! 

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Flame Tree Press. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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A solid tale of terror set at a Reformatory school for girls with various issues.  The main character, Emily suffers from dissociative episodes and the rest of the girls have varying other reasons for needing to attend.  They're stuck between making things work with each other, their hawk-like principal, and a possible spirit or ghost.  But, because the narrator is heavily medicated and suffers from a disorder that renders her the perfect example of an unreliable narrator, you're never sure what's actually going on until it's explained later.  And when you get there, it turns things on their heads and is certainly satisfactory.

Thanks NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC, I received a review copy of this book at my request and have voluntarily left an honest review.
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