This review is of Gillian White's Unhallowed Ground. For reasons known only to themselves, Amazon have combined the reviews for Gillian White's Unhallowed Ground and Agatha Christie's The Hound of Death. The stupidity of this has been pointed out to them, but clearly they don't care.
Georgie needs to get away from London to escape the publicity around the killing of a child while she was the social worker responsible for little Angie's case. So when she unexpectedly inherits a cottage in a tiny hamlet on Dartmoor it seems an ideal place to escape to for a few months - until she meets the strange and mostly unfriendly neighbours, that is.
White handles prose with originality and control, and in Georgie she creates a completely believable character, flawed, yes, but with an underlying strength of character that is crumbling under the guilt of the child's death. For the first half of the book, White cuts between the present and the past, letting us see the events that have brought Georgie to this place and this state of mind. Once Georgie gets to Dartmoor, the tension starts to ratchet up, while the reader is left to wonder whether the scary events are really happening or are all part of Georgie's guilt-ridden mind. As winter comes and the snow starts to fall, Georgie is trapped in the cottage and alone...
For the most part, I thought this was a first-rate slow-burn psychological thriller that kept me hooked and on edge. Unfortunately I thought the ending let the book down - without any spoilers, I felt the climax didn't quite live up to the sense of anticipation and tension that the author had so carefully built throughout. However, on the basis of this book, I am certainly looking forward to reading more of White's work. Recommended.
NB This review is of a proof copy provided by the publisher.