#BlogTour #Audiobook No Place To Run by Mark Edwards

It’s a pleasure to take part in the Blogtour for the Audiobook version of No Place to Run by Mark Edwards.

About the Author

Mark Edwards writes psychological thrillers in which scary things happen to ordinary people. Mark has sold over 3.5 million books since his first solo novel, The Magpies, was published in 2013 and has topped the bestseller lists numerous times. His other novels include Follow You Home, Here To Stay and The House Guest. 

He has also published six books co-authored with Louise Voss. His last book, The Hollows, was published in July 2021. Mark lives in the West Midlands, England, with his wife, their three children and two cats. He Tweets at @mredwards

About the book

Two years ago, on a trip to Seattle to visit her brother Aidan, fifteen-year-old Scarlett vanished into thin air.

After years of false leads and dead ends, Aidan has almost given up hope. But then a woman sees a girl running for her life across a forest clearing in Northern California. She is convinced the girl is the missing Scarlett. But could it really be her?

Heading south, Aidan finds a fire-ravaged town covered in missing-teenager posters. The locals seem afraid, the police won’t answer any questions and it looks like another dead end―until a chance meeting with returned local Lana gives Aidan his first clue. But as they piece together what happened, Lana and Aidan make deadly enemies. Enemies willing to do anything to silence them. Only one thing matters now: finding Scarlett ― even if it kills him. 

Review

This review is based on the audiobook version – I personally often find listening and reading experiences of the same book or material to be completely different, despite the subject matter. Possibly because the narrator replaces a lot of the imaginary character constructs, and situational reactions and tensions, one automatically creates whilst reading. That’s a pretty long-winded way of saying that I am also going to be reading the hardcopy or digital version of this story.

When Aidan decides to solve the mystery of his teenage sister, who disappeared into thin air a few years prior, he doesn’t realise he will end up having to wade through a quagmire of deception, greed, and ruthless corruption. He finds a companion in Lana, who like himself is looking for a missing loved one – in a town covered in missing posters. Sounds creepy, right? Yeh, it goes to places you just won’t expect it to.

Having read prior work by this author I think it’s fair to say that although this also carries the trademark slow-building and burning when it comes to storytelling, it is also the most boundary pushing and extensive in terms of scope. There was definitely an aspect of opening new doors and seeing where that leads us, especially in regard to combining genres. It’s more speculative, and tugs quite a few ripcords when it comes to controversial topics and indeed 21st century problems.

It’s a captivating, has the potential to be a more than one-of, mystery come thriller. A slight deviation from the usual books by this author, but I am absolutely here for it. I love it when an author goes beyond the realms they might be boxed into for a variety of reasons – the results are often a great reading or listening experience.

Buy No Place to Run by Mark Edwards at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publication: Thomas & Mercer, pub date 21st June 2022 | Paperback -£8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

Listening Length – 10 hours and 11 minutes, Author – Mark Edwards, Narrator – Will M. Watt. Whispersync for Voice – Ready, Audible.co.uk Release Date – 21 June 2022, Publisher – Brilliance Audio, Program Type – Audiobook, Version – Unabridged, Language – English.

#BlogTour Death in the Woods by Jo Allen

It’s my turn on the BlogTour Death in the Woods by Jo Allen.

About the Author

Jo Allen was born in Wolverhampton and is a graduate of Edinburgh, Strathclyde and the Open University, with undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in geography and Earth science. She’s been writing for pleasure and publication for as long as she can remember. After a career in economic consultancy she took up writing and was first published under the name Jennifer Young, in genres of short stories, romance and romantic suspense. She wrote online articles on travel and on her favourite academic subject, Earth science. In 2017 she took the plunge and began writing the genre she most likes to read — crime.

Jo lives in the English Lakes, where the DCI Satterthwaite series is set. In common with all her favourite characters, she loves football (she’s a season ticket holder with her beloved Wolverhampton Wanderers) and cats. 

Follow @JoAllenAuthor on Twitter, joallenauthor on Instagram, Visit joallenauthor.co.uk

About the book

A series of copycat suicides, prompted by a mysterious online blogger, causes DCI Jude Satterthwaite more problems than usual, intensifying his concerns about his troublesome younger brother, Mikey. Along with his partner, Ashleigh O’Halloran, and a local psychiatrist, Vanessa Wood, Jude struggles to find the identity of the malicious troll gaslighting young people to their deaths.

The investigation stirs grievances both old and new. What is the connection with the hippies camped near the Long Meg stone circle? Could these suicides have any connection with a decades old cold case? And, for Jude, the most crucial question of all. Is it personal — and could Mikey be the final target?

Review

There is such a thing as suicides coming in waves. The death of one is a sign of permission to others in a vulnerable state of mind. But what if the deaths of local young people are being caused by someone who wants them to harm themselves? DCI Jude Satterthwaite and a local psychiatrist have to wade through some messed up thinking to get to the bottom of it all.

I think a genuine question arises about the liability of people, whether online or in a real life setting, who drive others to commit suicide. The person who ends their life takes the final decision, however if they are driven to, convinced by others – then the person behind the scenes is part of said decision. They should be held accountable, and that includes online groups with the sole intent of pushing vulnerable people to their breaking point. Or indeed paving the way for the vulnerable to harm themselves.

Allen has built a mystery and plot around the sinister intentions of others and the fact suicides are seen as an drawn conclusion. There aren’t enough resources to trace a line backwards to possible ill intent. It’s a mystery that wanders into the fears we have, and the ease with which our psyche is chipped away. What’s left is desperation and cries for help – hopefully someone will hear them.

Buy Death in the Woods at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour A Case of Royal Blackmail by Sherlock Holmes

 It’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Case of Royal Blackmail by Sherlock Holmes.

About the Author

Sherlock Holmes was a late Victorian and Edwardian consulting detective, known both for his pioneering work in the scientific aspects of criminology and for his powers of deduction and observation. From his late 20s his many cases were well recorded by his friend and flatmate Dr John Watson and some of his exploits have subsequently been made into feature films and TV series.

About the book

In A Case of Royal Blackmail, the 24-year-old Sherlock Holmes recounts how he untangles the web of blackmail and deceit surrounding the ‘complex romantic endeavours’ of the Prince of Wales, later King Edward VII, those of Lillie Langtry and her various suitors and the morass of ‘scandal sheets’ and libel cases surrounding the Prince’s court of the time.

Set in July 1879, 18 months before he met Dr. Watson, the action takes place in the vividly described London of Queen Victoria. Taken from this own case notes, Holmes also reveals the full story behind two previously untold cases: Vamberry the Wine Merchant and Ricoletti of the Club-foot and the Abominable Wife and a new discovery, The Curious Case of OscarWilde’s Amethyst Tie-pin.

Published with the endorsement of the Conan Doyle Estate, and told in Holmes’s own words, Sherlockians the world over will revel in these new adventures of the world’s favourite consulting detective.

Review

Before Dr Watson started creating a written legacy of the sleuthing exploits of Holmes, there was Holmes himself who decided to put ink to paper. Hitherto hidden to the world and his many fans – we now have the chance to read more adventures.

Adventures that take him into the underworld of the monarchy, which is fraught with manipulation, blackmail and the intention to blacken names and subvert power. A new welcome character who brings a breath of fresh air to the table is Oscar Wilde, which gives the tales a pinch of something new.

As a long-time (many many decades) Conan Doyle and Sherlock Holmes reader, I think it’s important to note that this book has been published with the endorsement of the Conan Doyle Estate. Much like the Christie Estate has decided to control some of the narrative surrounding the use of the name and material of the Queen of Crime, so it should also be for the material of the author who created the most famous detective in the world. In fact he is so famous, and infamous, that there are still doubts about the veracity of claims in regards to his fictional status.

I loved it, and the cherry on the top of the sundae was the Finder’s Note and the whole fictional story concocted to provide us with the new ‘authentic’ stories forgotten and hidden away by the master of deduction himself. Seriously, what’s not to love about the whole idea? Bring us more. In fact there should be a treasure hunt for further tales by the master.

Buy A Case of Royal Blackmail at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher ‏ : ‎ Unicorn Publishing Group – Affable Media pub date 1 July 2021. Paperback, £7.50. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David F. Ross

It’s my turn on the BlogTour There’s Only One Danny Garvey by David R. Ross. 

About the Author

David F. Ross was born in Glasgow in 1964 and has lived in Kilmarnock for over 30 years. He is a graduate of the Mackintosh School of Architecture at Glasgow School of Art, an architect by day, and a hilarious social media commentator, author and enabler by night. His debut novel The Last Days of Disco was shortlisted for the Authors Club Best First Novel Award, and received exceptional critical acclaim, as did the other two books in the Disco Days Trilogy: The Rise & Fall of the Miraculous Vespas and The Man Who Loved Islands. David lives in Ayrshire.

Follow @dfr10 @Orendabooks on Twitteron Goodreadson Amazon,Visit davidfross.co.ukBuy There’s Only One Danny Garvey

About the book

Danny Garvey was a sixteen-year old footballing prodigy. Professional clubs clamoured to sign him, and a glittering future beckoned. And yet, his early promise remained unfulfilled, and Danny is back home in the tiny village of Barshaw to manage the struggling junior team he once played for. What’s more, he’s hiding a secret about a tragic night, thirteen years earlier, that changed the course of several lives. There’s only one Danny Garvey, they once chanted … and that’s the problem.

A story of irrational hopes and fevered dreams – of unstoppable passion and unflinching commitment in the face of defeat – There’s Only One Danny Garvey is, above all, an unforgettable tale about finding hope and redemption in the most unexpected of places.

Review

I think one of the most frequent comments you will read in the reviews for this book will be about the fact the majority of readers who aren’t into football or have no prior knowledge of the subject, still found this a captivating read, despite all of the football. I would include myself in that group.

In between the running narrative of Danny’s talent, and the use of said talent to escape the trauma and uncomfortable truths of his childhood and dysfunctional family, is an unsolved mystery that lingers over the town and the main character. Danny is forever connected with the disappearance of a young child – an experience that defines him.

The author gives this an authentic brash feel. The emotional tension is used like a sharp pointy weapon, which is poked intermittently at the main character in order to show his instability. Behind the eyes of the golden boy lurks the uncertainty of past trauma and struggle to understand why he always returns to the people who hurt him.

Without giving anything away the ending is nothing short of evil genius and indicative of the chaos, pain and turbulence throughout the read. It speaks more to what is actually going on inside Danny’s head than any other previous situation. It’s certainly an ambitious and unusual read.

Buy There’s Only One Danny Garvey at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Orenda Books pub date 21 Nov. 2020. Buy at Amazon comHiveBookshop org. Waterstones.

#BlogTour The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the Blog Tour The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby.
About the Author

Polly Crosby lives in Norfolk with her husband and son, and her very loud and much-loved Oriental rescue cat, Dali. To Find more about Polly’s writing, visit pollycrosby.comSign up to Polly’s newsletter here.

Follow @WriterPolly on Twitteron Goodreads, on AmazonBuy The Illustrated Child

About the book

Romilly lives in a ramshackle house with her eccentric artist father and her cat, Monty. She knows little about her past – but she knows that she is loved.

When her father finds fame with a series of children’s books starring her as the main character, everything changes: exotic foods appear on the table, her father appears on TV, and strangers appear at their door, convinced the books contain a treasure hunt leading to a glittering prize.

But as time passes, Romilly’s father becomes increasingly suspicious of everything around him, until, before her eyes, he begins to disappear altogether.

In her increasingly isolated world, Romilly turns to the secrets her father has hidden in his illustrated books, realising that there is something far darker and more devastating locked within the pages…The truth.

Review

Romilly lives her life through the eyes of her adoring father. The single father raising a daughter, a man who puts pen to paper and creates stories for everyone to enjoy. This exposure of her life comes with a lack of privacy and at times even danger and transgressions. The stories carry the suggestion of a hidden treasure, which tends to generate the interest of many – not enough interest to care how Romilly is dealing with being the main character in a series of books though.

The only thing keeping her halfway sane is her strange, domineering and unkempt friend, who comes and goes as they both go through the different stages of growing-up. They agree, they fight and ultimately the best friend can also be very manipulative at times.

Romilly also has to cope with a disinterested mother, and a parent who is so involved with himself he neglects her emotionally, psychologically and physically. There is still some semblance of love at times, but is it love or just a means to an end?

Although this falls under the YA category for me personally even though it is certainly a coming-of-age story for the majority of the story, it wanders far beyond those boundaries. It’s a complex combination of mystery, discovery of self and sexuality, the almost incestuous leanings of a confused and distraught parent at times, the guilt and the neglect.

There are just so many aspects of this story I would love to go into each fascinating element in depth, but would absolutely give the plot away by doing so. (Arrgh) It’s such a multi-layered piece of work. I loved the way Crosby went from literary to contemporary to mystery and speculative. All within a blink of an eye. The reader is never quite sure which thread to grasp onto at any given time.

It’s a brilliant story with an ending which suits the beginning and a middle that pays homage to the past. A wonderful story. One that speaks of a culmination of imagination and coping techniques, after many years of solitude and mind games.

Buy The Illustrated Child at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 29 Oct. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Peacock Room by Anna Sayburn Lane

 Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Peacock Room by Anna Sayburn Lane.

About the Author

Anna Sayburn Lane is a novelist, short story writer and storyteller, inspired by the history and contemporary life of London. Unlawful Things is her first novel.

She has published award-winning short stories in a number of magazines, including Mslexia, Scribble and One Eye Grey.

Her Mslexia award-winning story Conservation was described by judge and Booker-longlisted author Alison MacLeod as “a powerful and profound contemporary piece in which one man’s story stands for an entire nation’s… it’s a punch to the heart, a story that will haunt and touch its readers deeply”.

She has told stories at London club The Story Party and One Eye Grey’s Halloween event, Moon Over the Lido.

Follow Anna Sayburn Lane @BloomsburyBlue on Twitteron Facebookon Goodreadson Amazon, Visit annasayburnlane.comBuy The Peacock Room

About the book

A literary obsession. An angry young man with a gun. And one woman trying to foil his deadly plan.

When Helen Oddfellow starts work as a lecturer in English literature, she’s hoping for a quiet life. But trouble knows where to find her.

There’s something wrong with her new students. Their unhappiness seems to be linked to their flamboyant former tutor, Professor Petrarch Greenwood, who holds decadent parties in his beautiful Bloomsbury apartment.

When Helen is asked to take over his course on the Romantic poet William Blake, life and art start to show uncomfortable parallels. Disturbing poison pen letters lead down dark paths, until Helen is the only person standing between a lone gunman and a massacre.

The Peacock Room is the intriguing follow-up to the acclaimed thriller Unlawful Things, which introduced the literary sleuth Helen Oddfellow.

Review

This is the second book in the Helen Oddfellow Mystery series, both can be read as standalone novels. This time Helen is drawn into a disturbing world where fantasy and art collide. 

Her allegedly firm career foundations are being jostled in favour of a colleague who is more accomplished, but is there more to the man than meets the eye. Is he just playing a role and secretly harbouring resentment and cruel thoughts. Thoughts and fantasies he has found a place to live out with like minded creatures who live in the darkness.

Much like The Following where killers are enamoured by the morbidity of Poe – this book also draws parallels from the art and talent of Blake through Rintrah the Reprobate. Art inspires both love and death, but in this case it is also combined with obsession.

Sayburn Lane creates a fascinating mystery which weaves literary works and the academic world with secrets and emotional quagmires, both of which can be seen between humans regardless of the era and how famous a person is. 

Mystery in the world of academia also comes with a healthy portion of the competition, misogyny and sexism in said world. A patriarchal system, which still tends to like to sneer at the opposite gender, especially when they dare to challenge theories and opinions. The author gives readers a look into that world, whilst also giving them a great mystery.

Buy The Peacock Room at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Anna Sayburn Lane; pub date 17 Sept. 2020. Buy at Amazon com. Buy at Waterstones.

#BlogTour Cherry Slice by Jennifer Stone

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour Cherry Slice (Cherry PI Mystery #1) by Jennifer Stone.

About the Author

Jennifer Stone was born in Essex and spent her formative years living within its borders and enjoying the delights of the multiple night clubs and alcopop-swigging opportunities available. After a stint in North Wales acquiring a degree and a further spell in Leeds, training to be a teacher, she returned to the south of England to teach English in a variety of schools. She is currently head of English at a boarding school in Suffolk and has just completed her MA in Creative Writing (Crime at UEA. She lives with her wife and their small son.

Follow on Goodreads,  Buy Cherry Slice 

About the book

When Kenny Thorpe, a contestant on Expose TV’s Big Blubber, the hot new celebrity weight-loss show, is murdered on live television in front of 3 million viewers, the case seems pretty watertight. After all, everyone saw Martin do it – didn’t they?

Cherry Hinton knows there’s more to this than meets the eye. As an investigative reporter, she went undercover on dating show Caravan Love… but after getting in too deep with one of the other contestants, she was caught knickerless in front of the nation. Humiliated, fired and heartbroken, she has fled to Brentwood, where she opens a cake shop and tries to forget all about Expose.

But when Kenny Thorpe’s sister walks into her shop with a letter that turns the case inside out, Cherry realises it’s down to her to expose the real killer.

Review

This is the first book in the Cherry PI series.

Cherry Hinton isn’t exactly the kind of polished, pretty and perfect character or person you might expect. Her life is mired in scandal, due to an unfortunate experience with the world of reality television.

After accidentally blowing up her life with the help of the media, Cherry has resigned herself to baking for a living instead of being a journalist. When the sister of a murder victim asks for her help she is reluctant to agree to help, but she really can’t help herself or her gut instinct for the truth.

I really disliked the way Cherry Hinton was treated, and the way she just wouldn’t stick up for herself, but that is a different matter entirely. It is a book full of sexism, misogyny and the systemic mistreatment of women in a patriarchal society.

Assumptions are made about her character, which is maligned by the press, her family, her so-called friends and the world in general. Scantily clad woman equals someone of loose morals of course. Loose morals equals a woman willing to do anything for any man or man-child. It’s so sad and simultaneously frustrating.

It’s a murder mystery series with the kind of character who more or less stumbles through her investigations. Stone gives readers a character they want to cheer on and they want her to fight back against all her critics. Somehow the murder becomes almost insignificant in comparison to Cherry getting her jive back.

Buy Cherry Slice (Cherry PI Mystery #1) at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Farrago; pub date 2 April 2020 – Paperback £8.99. Buy at Amazon com.

#SocialMediaBlast A Body in the Bookshop by Helen Cox

Today it’s an absolute pleasure to take part in the BlogTour A Body in the Bookshop (Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mysteries #2, by Helen Cox.

About the Author

Helen Cox is a Yorkshire-born novelist and poet. After completing her MA in creative writing at the University of York St. John. Helen wrote for a range of magazines and websites as well as for TV and radio news. Helen has edited her own independent film magazine and penned three non-fiction books. Her first two novels were published by HarperCollins in 2016. She currently hosts the Poetrygram podcast and works for City Lit, London

Helen’s Mastermind specialism would be Grease 2 and to this day she adheres to the Pink Lady pledge.

Follow @Helenography on Twitter, on Goodreadson Amazon, Visit helencoxbooks.comBuy a Body in the Bookshop

About the book

Librarian Kitt Hartley and her friend Evie Bowes thought their life had gone back to normal after the shocking events of Murder in the Minster. Then DI Malcolm Halloran breaks some bad news: DS Charlotte Banks has been suspended from duty, on suspicion of assaulting the suspect in the burglary of a local bookshop.

Evie wants justice for Charlotte, who she is sure was not the attacker, and how could any self-respecting librarian turn down the chance to find missing rare books? The two friends team up once again to investigate the rarefied world of York’s bookshops and antiques dealers and find out just who has framed their friend.

But Kitt and Evie will soon learn that there are some books people will kill for – will this story  have a happy ending?

Review

This is the second book in the Kitt Hartley Yorkshire Mystery series. Both books can be read as standalone novels, although I would recommend reading the first just for the read.

This time the story starts out quite aggressively with Banks being accused of assault linked to a burglary. Halloran is walking a fine line by telling Kitt and Evie about the case, especially when they decide to get involved. The amateur sleuths rattle quite a few cages as they try to solve the mystery and get Banks out of trouble.

I enjoyed the way Cox approached the budding relationship between Evie and Charley. The way Evie is unsure about her attraction to Charley, which intensifies the insecurity she feels about the scarring on her face. At times she finds it hard to distinguish between the desire someone might feel for her and the way everyone is reacting to the new her, or at least the way she thinks people are reacting to her.

The relationship between them flows smoothly beside the murder plot with moments of shyness, laughter and ultimately of honest and open emotional responses. Kudos to the author for this subtle approach to their story.

It’s a quaint murder mystery series set in Yorkshire with two amateur sleuths at the helm. I  think what will make this a favourite for readers is the fact the series is set around the world of books, regardless of whether it be the library or the bookshops.

Buy A Body in the Bookshop at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: Quercus; pub date 19 Mar. 2020. Buy at Amazon com.

Read my review of Murder in the Minster by Helen Cox.

#BlogTour Murder in Lima by Mats Vederhus

Today it’s my turn on the BlogTour Murder in Lima by Mats Vederhus.

About the Author

Mats Vederhus is a journalist and author from Norway, born in 1988. He’s written several books, and has interviewed many of Norway’s greatest stars such as Nicholai Cleve Broch, Jonas Alaska, Vebjørn Sand, Unni Wilhelmsen and Mathias Eick.

Follow on @Afr0 Twitter, on Goodreadson Instagramon Facebook, Visit matsvederhus.com, Buy Murder in Lima

About the book

Kurt Hammer ends up in Lima, Peru to escape his demons and put an end to his alcoholism. The holiday soon takes a sinister turn though, when Kurt witnesses the brutal murder of an old friend.

Facing the most difficult case of his life, can Kurt find the killer – and avoid succumbing to his demons?Review

Whilst this is predominantly a murder mystery/thriller, it is very much also about recognising the way people can be swallowed up by their inability to deal with the stress, friction and problems life tends to deal them. Kurt is no stranger to slipping into the deep end of any bottle of alcohol that comes his way to avoid having to confront the tension and people he would rather avoid.

Avoiding any emotional depth or response is the reason he ends up travelling and finding himself in the midst of a dangerous game of murder and violence. When he becomes a witness to the murder of a friend the events take Kurt on a journey he wasn’t quite expecting to make. Not sure it’s very therapeutic to recommend a trip and banter about the alcohol being cheap there though. Just saying.

It also bandies around with the suggestion that sometimes it takes an epiphany resulting from tragedy, close calls and events that make one reconsider what is really important in life and worth living for, to be jolted into confronting addiction. It depends on the addiction and the addict of course.

It’s a murder mystery come thriller. Vederhus keeps the story and narrative short choppy and doesn’t dwell on moments, emotions or details. This particular style can make the story a wee bit discombobulated, however if it is indeed a style it also lends itself to a bullet point/news info fiction approach.

I wonder whether the translation does the story justice, because the English is basic. It sounds amateurish, which doesn’t really gel with the experience one would assume Vederhus has as a journalist and author. This isn’t uncommon in translations of foreign language origin books, which can be lacking when it comes to idioms, structure and level of the language they are translated from and/or into.

Buy Murder in Lima by Mats Vederhus at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Published in paperback and ebook formats by Terminal Velocity, an imprint of Next Chapter Publishing on 13th November 2019. Buy at Amazon com.

#BlogTour The Witch of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox

Today it’s a pleasure to take part in the BlogTour The Widow of Pale Harbour by Hester Fox.

About the Author

Hester Fox lives near Salem, the location of the historical Salem witch trials. She is a keen painter and has a masters degree in historical archaeology, as well as a background in Medieval studies and art history.

Follow @HesterBFox on Twitter, on Amazonon Goodreads, Visit hesterfox.comBuy The Widow of Pale Harbour

About the book

A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbour from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that hunt him after his wife’s death, so he takes a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbour.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives in the decaying Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a madman inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allen Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbour will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

Review

Gabriel Stone is a man with many secrets. The kind of secrets that can destroy the life he is intent on carving out for himself in the community of Pale Harbour. Perhaps that is why he connects instantly with Sophronia Carver – a woman with secrets.

She has become the target of malicious rumours and a concentrated effort to malign her character and to scare her. Is she a witch? Did she have something to do with her husband’s demise? Is someone in her inner circle guilty of the worst betrayal?

Gabriel is surprised when rumours and reputation don’t line up with his personal experience and encounters with Sophronia. What is it about this woman that evokes such negative reactions and has set someone on a murderous course of action?

Fox uses the works and myth of Poe to insert a macabre and gothic vibe to the story. Each moment of fear or horror is woven through the fabric of his work. Although this isn’t a new angle per se, I liked the idea of a perpetrator who is influenced by the words of an author, but in a historical context, ergo not the modern era. Nowadays criminals are allegedly influenced by what they watch, read and play, which is a common theme to us. Taking that perspective on criminality, and perhaps even accountability, and creating the same kind of stepping stone was interesting.

It’s mystery, murder and crime, a psychological thriller in a historical setting. Fox balances romances, fear and mystery meticulously to create a gripping read.

Buy The Widow of Pale Harbour at Amazon Uk or go to Goodreads for any other retailer. Publisher: HQ; pub date 17 Oct. 2019.Paperback £7.99 – Available in eBook and Audio. Buy at Amazon com.