Today, I’m delighted to be sharing my review of this fantastic novel, Wychwood, as part of the blog tour. And can I just say, how gorgeous is the cover of this book!?!
From the back cover:
After losing her job and her partner in one fell swoop, journalist Elspeth Reeves is back in her mother’s house in the sleepy village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, wondering where it all went wrong. Then a body is found in the neighbouring Wychwoods: a woman ritually slaughtered, with cryptic symbols scattered around her corpse. Elspeth recognizes these from a local myth of the Carrion King, a Saxon magician who once held a malevolent court deep in the forest. As more murders follow, Elspeth joins her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw to investigate, and the two discover sinister village secrets harking back decades.
Wychwood has a great opening, a chase is on, a murder ensues – you have my full attention from the get go. What follows is a great murder mystery, with very likeable characters. I really enjoy mysteries surrounding ritual murders because you just know it’s going to be sinister. When bodies start surfacing in a similar manner to the Wychwood myth of old, things start getting really creepy. The murders are chilling, the woods make an eerie setting, a mystery I could not solve.
And did I mention, it’s set in a small town! Lately, small-town mysteries are books I’m actively seeking out because I love the intimate feel they have – you really get close to the characters and develop the ability to visualise the town they live in and this is a major factor in bringing the story to life.
As sinister as the murders were, the rest of the story was very pleasant; the interactions between Elspeth and her mother were a joy to read. Her relationship with her childhood friend, Peter, made equally pleasant reading. In contrast, this made the descriptions of the murders all the more chilling. Elspeth and Peter were such likable characters. The fact that Elspeth was a journalist, rather than a detective, gave this novel a different atmosphere compared to two detectives working the case – it gave it that police procedural feel whilst still being a murder mystery with elements of the supernatural. But it was also a story of Elspeth “finding herself”, not in a deep, profound way, but after moving back in with her mum, she has to find her feet all over again, look for work, decide if she wants to stay in Wychwood or move back to London etc, etc. These additional elements really make you warm to Elspeth and hope that she chooses to stay, so we can have a second novel.
Don’t be put off if you don’t read books with supernatural elements because in this novel, they are minimal, but they ensure you stay thinking about the events that have occurred long after the novel has finished. Mann has a fluid writing style that allows you to really immerse yourself in this novel, I really liked that he detailed the myth of the Carrion King, it was such an interesting myth.
Wychwood is a wonderful read, it’s chilling at the right times, great characters; I highly recommend it.
*My thanks to Titan Books for providing me with a copy of this book and inviting me to take part in the blog tour*
About the Author:
George Mann is the author of the Newbury and Hobbes and The Ghost series of novels, as well as numerous short stories, novellas and audiobooks. He has written fiction and audio scripts for the BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. He is also a respected anthologist and has edited The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy. He lives near Grantham, UK.
FOLLOW THE WYCHWOOD BLOG TOUR