The cover pitches this book as a ‘supernatural thriller’. Not quite a crime novel, not quite a horror, a ‘supernatural thriller’ is a tricky thing to pull off. But worry not, friends, because author Polly J Mordant has succeeded, and then some.
When we first meet our protagonist Emma, she is on the run from a violent and controlling partner. She hatches a plan to ‘disappear’ and start a new life in a quiet little village called Flammark. However, it seems that Flammark may have chosen Emma and not the other way around.
Yes, all is not quite as idyllic as it first appears. As a village, Flammark is the anti-Dibley. No loveable middle-class eccentrics and amiable buffoons here. Instead we get mysterious disappearances, spooky apparitions, strange visions, ancient curses, evil mists, horrifying possessions and locals who are not quite what they seem.
And if all that isn’t enough, Emma’s ex is onto her.
Emma is an engaging character and as readers we can’t help but punch the air as this particular worm turns, taking control of her own destiny, vowing to be a victim no more. And as the story progresses, with secrets getting unearthed like bodies from a graveyard, Mordant tightens the tourniquet effectively, putting our hero and her new friends through hell before they can even dream of finding salvation.
It’s exciting, creepy and gripping stuff, with shades of The Wicker Man and vintage Hammer Horror. The cover also states that this is ‘Book one of the Flammark series’. That’s good news for us newly-converted fans of supernatural thrillers. Bring it on!