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The Darkening [Paperback]

Stephen M. Irwin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

10 Dec 2009

After his wife's sudden death, Nick Close has decided to leave London and return to Australia, hoping that distance will bring oblivion. But Tallong, his run-down childhood home, doesn't hold much comfort either: Thirty years ago, he and his best friend Tristram were lured into the woods at the edge of town. Tristram was murdered while Nick escaped.

As Nick drives the back road home from the airport, he is disturbed to find the woods still looming darkly in the distance. A strange sense of menace and foreboding overshadows his homecoming and Nick's uneasiness grows when another child is found murdered a few days later, his death almost identical to Tristram's. Probing quietly and carefully into the shadows of the small community, Nick uncovers a long string of unexplained disappearances and brutal deaths, some over 100 years old - and every killing seems to lead back into the twisted maze of the woods. But there is one other connection. Drawn into the woods once again, Nick suddenly realises that it wasn't Tristram who was meant to die thirty years ago...

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (10 Dec 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751543969
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751543964
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 72,907 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This chilling tale is full of mysterious characters (Star Magazine)

Irwin's debut is gripping and not a little freaky (Esquire)

Subtle, insidious and downright creepy (Guardian)

Brilliant...A gripping rollercoaster journey that you'll remember for days - and nights - to come (She)

Book Description

A compulsively gripping supernatural thriller for fans of The Birthing House

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By Karen Baxter VINE VOICE
Stephen M Irwin's `The Darkening' is a mind-blowing supernatural suspense thriller. Read this book and I guarantee you'll sleep with the lights on!

After his wife's death, Nicholas, a man haunted by the past and the disconcerting fact that he sees dead people, leaves London and returns to his home town in Australia. A town which has altered little since he left twenty years before.

Even `The Woods' have, somehow, escaped change, and ... something is lurking in The Woods and it knows that Nicholas is back!

Nicholas was ten years old when he discovered with his friend Tristam a gruesome talisman near The Woods. Tristram's body was found dead the next day. Now another child goes missing and Nicholas becomes a suspect.

Second sight, herbal traditions and runes appear throughout the book ... plenty for reading groups to discuss. Also look out for a powerful and primordial force known as `The Green Man' who surfaces towards the end of the novel.

Protagonist Nicholas, Suzette (Nicholas' sister) a self confessed witch and firmly on the side of good, Mrs Quill an adversary seen to be evil, Hannah the story's unlikely heroine and many others are all characterised skilfully by Mr. Irwin.

The author's unique prose being razor sharp, menacing and incredibly atmospheric made my flesh crawl and the hairs on my neck stand on end ... What more could one ask for?
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely amazing book 29 Dec 2009
I am usually picking up Thrillers from the book charts, secretly hoping for a good psychological thriller or supernatural thriller to emerge from the masses of over produced crime thrillers that litter the shelves. This book stood out and I am so glad it did, what an amazing story and superbly told. I won't give anything away but Stephen is a great writer and had me finish the book in two days I was so desperate to reach the end. A very unique and enjoyably read that left me shivering more than a few times. Definitely worth a read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Really? Sleep with the lights on 10 Jun 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bought this book because of the first review on amazon, where the person described the book as harrowing, and you will sleep with the lights on. Well I am sorry to say, but I love horrors and this did not fall into that category for me. I felt the writer had tried to do a Stephen King, but with his own lines.
It sadly did not work, you could see the Stephen King, scenario, man loses wife, goes back home, starts to see dead bodies. The scene is set the village has runes, children disappear and Nicholas can see the dead. His family have some strange secrets especially his father.
The village has some strange secrets, and people start to kill themselves in front of Nicholas, I did finish the book, but would think twice before buying this author again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "The woods were alive... " 14 July 2011
By Ruby
This will put you off walking in woods for life!

After the death of his wife in London Nicholas Close returns to his Australian home town and his mother's house, a haunted man in more ways than one. The town has changed very little since he left including The Woods. In his childhood they were the scene of the murder of his best friend Tristram.

The Woods have a bad reputation in the town, parents warn their children not to go near them and people deliberately go out of their way so as not to pass by them. It is this, hinted at, creeping malevolence that make this such an atmospheric downright creepy read.

Nicholas' return seems to stir the malignant force in the woods and as Nicholas arrives, a young boy is brutally murdered in the woods in similar circumstances to Tristram's death. The reader discovers that this mysterious co incidence is anything but...but is part of a pattern that has been playing out in area for generations.

"The woods were alive... Something inside the trees had sensed him, tasted him on the cold air. Recognised him."

Brilliantly written with strong, well drawn characters and a interesting plot that draw you in but it is the descriptions of those deep, dark haunted woods and their denizens that deliver the shivers. Having said that I did want to shake Nicholas more than once and tell him to pull himself together! Loved the primordial/pagan spin on this one, Blair Witch and The Wickerman spring to mind and the twisty ending seriously caught me out...wasn't expecting that! Suspend your disbelief and go into 'There are more things in heaven and earth' mode and you will be rewarded with a deliciously, creepy 'crawly' story.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific book for a first time novel 3 Aug 2010
I picked this up very quickly at the airport on a business trip as the description on the cover was intriguing and I was rushing for my flight. I started reading on the plane and had the book finished in 48 hours. Completely enthralling (sometimes a little predictable) but wholly engrossing and entertaining. Similar to John Connolly's books in style.

I went on the authors website to see if there were any more books in the pipeline but nothing showing. It said contact the author; so I did, and amazingly I had a reply within 48 hours from Stephen Irwin himself. There is another book on the way but I won't say more than that.

If you like a good chiller thriller then this is one to read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Slow start gives way to a riveting, scary read 18 Nov 2012
Very good, very creepy book that did take awhile to get going. I almost gave up reading during the first 80 or so pages, which were rather dull and overly-filled with flowery writing. But once the story got moving, it quickly became a riveting, page-turning nightmare that I really enjoyed. I don't think I've read a horror novel this scary in quite some time and would strongly recommend it. Looking forward to the author's other books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars The Darkening
This was suggested based on Adam Nevill Books and was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it. Really easy to read and well written. Read more
Published 1 month ago by Caley Griffin
4.0 out of 5 stars Struggled at the beginning, but it was worth getting through.
Don't normally go for this genre, but went for something different. Not too scary, but still worth a read. I enjoyed the characters and there was one or two laugh out loud bits.
Published 4 months ago by jonathan staunton
1.0 out of 5 stars feed back
Did not like it did not even finish it , started off ok but just got bad oh so bad
Published 4 months ago by Lydia Scard
5.0 out of 5 stars beware
This is the first book i have read from this author - but be aware as this is the same as his other book called The Dead Path!!
Published 4 months ago by paul & lynnette
4.0 out of 5 stars Shiver.
If you like a great Supernatural thriller then you are in for a treat with this book - its the first I've read from this author (I think it was his debut novel), I picked it up at... Read more
Published 15 months ago by Liz Wilkins
5.0 out of 5 stars There's something nasty in those woods...
Never having read this author before, I was attracted by the blurb. There's something about a story set in the woods,where trees creak and sway, leaves rustle, small birds and... Read more
Published 16 months ago by Catherine Cavendish
5.0 out of 5 stars When's the movie?
Excellent supernatural chiller that just cries out to be filmed-though the effects would probably fall far short of the spooky world that Stephen M Irwin weaves into this... Read more
Published on 15 July 2012 by Denis Reed
5.0 out of 5 stars Superbly scary
I loved this book - it is all your worst childhood nightmares and leads you on a hectic journey of magic and supernatural scares. Read more
Published on 10 July 2011 by L. Leary
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read
A slow start to this book nearly made me stop reading but how glad I am that continued reading. An amazing book - a great supernatural thriller which will leave you wanting more. Read more
Published on 14 Oct 2010 by Minnie
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