The conceit of this novel is that the story is supported by a selection of mostly bizarre photographs that are scattered throughout the text. It’s a cool idea (although used to much better effect by W.G. Sebald), but more often than not the technique comes of as clunky rather than revelatory. For many of these photos, you can picture Riggs finding a photo he loves and then figuring out how to shoehorn it into the story.
Despite this problem with the main concept, the story is entertaining and told well. It’s an inventive story of a boy travelling to a remote island to try and unravel the mystery of his grandfather’s past. It has many fantastical elements, but it is not nearly the creepfest that seeing some of the weird photos has led people to expect.