Source: Review Copy
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.
When I read the blurb for Wychwood by George Mann, I knew that it would be an intriguing read. George’s latest novel blends the police procedural with pagan horror and English mythology. I found the mythological stories in this book absolutely fascinating, if indeed they are a little gruesome. George has created a cast of captivating characters and once I finished the book I really wanted to find out more about them. I’ve read that this book is the first in a new series so I’m looking forward to reading the next one when it comes out, and I hope this will be soon.
When Elspeth Reeves returns to her home town, she has no idea that she will end up involved in a murder investigation. The moment she returns to her mother’s house, she finds her street blocked off and a huge police presence. A body has been discovered in the neighbouring woods and as she tries to work out what is going on, she bumps into an old school friend of hers, Peter, who is now a detective with the local police. As the two rekindle their friendship, they begin to use each other’s expertise to work out what happened to the young woman who was found dead. Elspeth realises that the killer maybe drawing on an old legend local to the town, a legend which she was fascinated by in her teenage years. But soon more bodies begin to turn up and this becomes one of the biggest investigations in the local forces history.
I really liked Elspeth as the main character in this book. She is looking to start a new life back in her home town after having recently lost her boyfriend and her job back in the city. But it is easy to see that she is a strong character at how quickly she manages to pick herself back up. She isn’t someone who sits around wallowing in her own misery, she is very much get up and go. I also liked the chemistry between her and Peter and I think that perhaps there could be room for something more between them in future books, we shall have to see, if indeed George returns to these characters, which I hope he does.
If you’re interested in English folklore and if you enjoy a good police procedural then I would definitely recommend this book, I’m looking forward to seeing what George Mann comes up with next. Wychwood is a very atmospheric read which will draw you in from the opening pages. Thank you to Philippa Ward at Titan Books for sending me a copy of this book to review.
Publisher: Titan Books
Publication date: 12th September 2017
Print length: 400 pages