When a small child is found wandering alone, the local shopkeepers call the authorities immediately. Twenty minutes later, the girl’s mother turns up, panicked and distraught. It doesn’t take long to clear things up, and mother and daughter are soon reunited and sent on their way.

Miles away, the body of a man is discovered, floating in a bathtub, but the most surprising discovery of all is that he isn’t dead. Despite his injuries, he is very much alive.

Two seemingly unrelated events. But as DS Harper begins to investigate, disturbing truths start to come to light that connects the man to the mother and child, and suddenly it’s not clear where the danger truly lies. Harper must find out, and quickly. Because someone, or something, is closing in and she needs to uncover the truth before it’s too late…

Weaving together the trademark folklore inspiration that readers loved in Little Darlings, with the procedural narrative force of a brilliant mystery, this is the excellent and unnerving new novel from Melanie Golding.

Melanie Golding took the MA in Creative Writing program at Bath Spa University, and has recently completed work on a Ph.D. that examines the use of folklore in contemporary thrillers. In recent years she has won and been shortlisted in several local and national short story competitions, which have been chosen to be recorded as podcasts by the Leicester-based festival Story City and to be performed at both the regular Stroud Short Stories event and their special ‘best of’ event at Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Melanie has had a varied working life, including working as a teacher in prisons, young offender’s units and residential schools for children with special educational needs. Her first novel, Little Darlings, became an ebook bestseller and has been optioned for the screen by Free Range Films, the team behind the adaptation of My Cousin Rachel.

What a different tale, which is very intriguing as you try to think about what is real or fantasy, could it actually be true? I really enjoyed this as I was never sure what would happen next and the more you discovered about the man the worse it all got. As the police piece it all together it then becomes evident that DS Harper should not be on the case much to her annoyance but she gets to the island just in time but the ending is not what you would expect but very good to read and just right for a cold winters night.

I do wish authors would just use either the first or second name of a character as sometimes calling them one thing the down the page something else I find confusing at times, what do you think?


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