I'm trying to remember a book I read when in around 2010-2011. I live in Britain, so it was probably by a British author and set in England. I don't remember if it was an old or new book (but it was written in a modern style) or anything about the cover, but it was scary and had some scenes that have stayed with me ever since.
I remember that the main character was a youngish girl, who moved into a large new house and explored it with her brother. The house had a large overgrown garden, and there were a group of 'gypsies' (travelling people?) who lived in the grounds/nearby.
The first scene from the book I remember was where the girl and her brother were in a room in the house and heard noises behind the panelling. The girl then began to imagine what it was, picturing a mouldering monk that was going to leap out and attack them - the description was very graphic and this was the point where I realised the book was more horror-ish than I had expected. Instead of a monk, a boy about their age appears, and he becomes the third main character.
There are a couple more plot points/scenes I remember, I'll summarise them:
- The main plot is that the kids have to stop the 'bad guys' from making a homunculus
- This homunculus is eventually made, from parts of dead pets (a labrador dog is mentioned) but also from the girl's own DNA, from a wart she has removed in an earlier scene
- There's a scene where the girl is looking out of her window into the dark and is startled by the appearance of one of the 'gypsies', he smiles and lifts his hat to reveal his head has been bashed in.
- There is also a graphic description of how the dog belonging to the travellers was disembowelled and its intestines were 'gleaming'
- (This book was seriously graphic and creepy, especially at the age when I read it)