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Tower Hill [Mass Market Paperback]

Sarah Pinborough
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Dorchester Publishing (1 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0843960523
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843960525
  • Product Dimensions: 2.4 x 10.6 x 17 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,017,097 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Sarah Pinborough was born in 1972 in Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire, where her family still have their home. She spent much of her childhood and adulthood travelling all over the world - her father, now retired, was a diplomat and so her early years were spent roaming the Middle East before, at eight years old, she packed her trunk and headed off to boarding school for a ten-year stretch, the memories of which she says still provide her with much of her material for horror writing . . .

She now lives about five miles from where she was born, with her cats, Mr Fing and Peter. She is a member of the British Fantasy Society, The Horror Writers' Association and, along with fellow horror authors Sarah Langan, Alex Sokoloff and Deborah LeBlanc, is part of the writing collective known as MUSE.

Although best known as a horror writer, with a number of published novels already under her belt, Sarah has begun to also write supernatural thriller novels, and is branching out into YA, under a pseudonym. A Matter of Blood is her debut novel on the Gollancz list: a dark, compelling psychological thriller with a touch of the supernatural, a must-read for all Steve Mosby fans.

Her influences include Stephen King, Clive Barker, Graham Joyce, Michael Marshall (Smith), John Wyndham, Dean Koontz and Madonna . . . and she admits that she really doesn't know what people who don't write do with their time. Housework, probably.

Product Description


When artifacts hidden centuries ago are unearthed in the quiet New England town of Tower Hill, the local residents become possessed one by one by the souls of the damned. Original.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Something Supernatural 25 Jan 2014
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a horror novel set in an apparently quiet American town with a small university. Something terrible is going to happen in the church as shown on the cover. After some opening unpleasantness, the story starts with 3 new students, Angela, Liz and Steve arriving at their shared flat.
I do not believe that anyone can enjoy a supernatural horror book if they are not at least open to the possibility of the supernatural. For this reason I thought that Angela was going to be the main viewpoint character. She says, "My interest is in studying religion is to disprove it. Not entirely disprove it. I mean I do believe in something. I believe in the weird and wonderful and ghosts and all that stuff. I just don't believe in the moral code that applies to it."
Add to this a lot of energy with an easy going disposition and you'd think you'd have your heroine. Not a bit of it. Angela is just total victim. The main viewpoint character is Liz who starts by putting her Bible and her cross out in her room. She comes from an extremely religious family who live on an island and home tutor her younger sister, to protect her from the wickedness in the world. However, not only Liz but also her parents do their bit to save the day.
Most of the really bad stuff happens in the church. There is a particularly effective church scene in chapter 17 that would film very well. However the fact is the church and its phony priest have gone to the devil. Most of the congregation never went to church, they've just reacted badly to something they ate. There is some disparagement of religion with the portrayal of the earnest Christian group on campus. At the end "one of the odiously sanctimonious young Christians" pees himself. Well wouldn't you when you are about to cut your own throat?
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  14 reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A town possessed 13 July 2008
By mrliteral - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to notice that the field of horror is male dominated, probably more so than mysteries or science fiction. The biggest female name in the genre is Anne Rice, and even she is not so much a horror writer as an author who uses the trappings of horror (vampires, witches, etc.) to tell dark fantasy stories. It isn't really fair, because a woman can write just as well (or just as poorly) as a man. Sarah Pinborough is hardly a household name, but her book Tower Hill is an example of a horror novel comparable to many other mid-tier writers of the genre, regardless of gender.

In a way, Tower Hill is a buddy novel. Unfortunately, in this case, the buddies are a pair of murderous thugs who have a plan to take over the small Maine college town called Tower Hill. One becomes the new town priest (after disposing of the real one), while the other becomes a professor who also leads a club delving into the paranormal. Between the church and the club, most will be drawn in, where they will be slowly transformed into a sort of pod people.

Liz and Steve are a couple apartment-mates who are also part of the freshman class at the university. Liz has grown up in a repressed highly-devout environment which gives her a skepticism about the new priest. Steve is a kid from Detroit whose poverty will put work ahead of any gatherings. Together, they are a couple of the few who realize that something sinister is going on, but even they don't realize that these evil doings have a supernatural quality; the priest and professor are using Tower Hill to transform themselves into something more than human.

Pinborough's writing style makes this a fast-moving story which is good for around 85% of the book. The ending - as in many horror novels by many authors - is rather flaky, though there a couple nice twists too. Overall, this is worth reading. If you read a lot of horror, you won't find anything exceptionally different about Tower Hill, but you also won't find anything all that bad either.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Christian Horror 28 July 2008
By Ravenskya - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
It is rare that I give a horror novel 5 stars, but then again it is rare that a horror novel evokes a sense of disturbed creepiness in me. I won't say that it "scared me" but it did keep me engaged from beginning to end, and for some reason this book came across as more plausible than many of the other supernatural horrors that I have read. It could be that it is a Christian based horror; I don't know that an atheist would find this as creepy as I did.

Short Summary - Tower Hill is a tiny town that hasn't change for decades, housing a large church, a small university and a very small town population. Two not so nice individuals (one is a depraved serial killer) have followed a series of riddles and clues to find their way to Tower Hill where they discover two religious artifacts hidden... and the rituals required giving them the power of God, but it requires the help of the townspeople. Two college students and a police deputy find themselves in a bizarre situation as suddenly the sleepy little town becomes host to a series of murders and mutilations, and the townspeople suddenly aren't acting the way they should.

Pinborough's characters are very real and conflicted. Almost equal time is spent between our four "good guys" and our two "bad guys" and as the reader you get a bit of a sense as to how this can play out, however nothing is spoon-fed to you. I appreciate the intelligence of her horror, the concept of biblical power in the wrong hands is believable to me (I mean Hitler was hunting for religious artifacts from all religions) and although at first it seems a bit strange that religious items of this magnitude would be hidden in "the new world" Pinborough does an excellent job of connecting all of the dots for us without breaking down into pages of exposition. Though there is one element of the story that didn't make a whole lot of sense and was never truly explained I'll forgive her for that because I enjoyed the rest of the book so much (for those of you who have read the book - the item in the town drunk's pocket really has no explanation at all, it is to that which I am referring).

This book takes on a very creepy vibe right from the beginning and you can feel your mind thinking "no, don't do that!" as you read what the characters are doing, because they are so real, you genuinely want them to make it out of this okay. As with any good horror, not all of them do (I hate the ride off into the sunset endings of many horror novels). The resolution is what is expected, and the story maintains its level of creepiness throughout. This is only the second of Pinborough's novels that I have read, and I have to admit that I like her sense of mood, and her ability to maintain it from beginning to end. There is some gore in this book, and a bit of sex, but what keeps this book moving is the characters and the overall sense of panic that the reader develops. If this were a movie, you wouldn't be able to keep yourself from yelling at the screen "NO, don't eat that!" "Don't go in there!" or "Dear god, don't trust HIM!!!" the fact that this book made me feel that way is what bumped this up to a 5 star book, even though it had some flaws.

This will probably not be for everyone, and may be scarier to Christians than non-Christians who may find this to be a load of garbage. This doesn't require a lot of Biblical knowledge to enjoy; most of us are at least familiar enough with the beginning of Genesis to comprehend what is going on. I really enjoyed this book and hope that you do too!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beware of the charmer, he slithers in daylight and laughs at your God 13 Jan 2009
By - Kasia S. - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What better place to open a chasm of destruction and chaos while gaining supernatural powers than a small, quiet New England town of Tower Hill. Where nothing changes dramatically, where the residents are sweet and students who come to the University are charming and peaceful and best of all, totally unsuspecting of something evil creeping their way. Well, say goodbye to sanity and student life, sinister forces in disguise of good have taken claim of the sleepy town and after they are done wringing every little last drop of blood they will feed in more ways than one.

This creepy horror is delicious and impossibly hard to put down, yet easy to read and digest. Sarah Pinborough has done am impressive job with connecting the reader to the inner most feelings of the main character - Liz, while giving some great insight to the bad guys, switching between the two polar opposites until the final clash in the end. Right of the bat, we know that something fishy is going on, it's pretty obvious to us- the silent watchers behind the page as two men pretend to be something else. One comes as a priest and the other as a teacher, both with dark plans in mind and sick ideas motivating their seemingly innocent behavior in the small town. The reader is aware than the wolf in sheep's clothing is sowing the seeds in the hearts and minds of the residents and the students, but we sit helpless unable to leap through the pages and help, watching something dark unfold. I think this direction made the book even more exciting, knowing that evil is brewing, watching Liz and her friends plow through the challenges and seeing who falls and who survives was half the fun. When the weirdness of the new church makes Liz question her own faith, she realizes that it's not her that is wrong but the church and the new priest. She also notices that her friend Angela starts changing after attending a weekend club set up by the new teacher. The town and its inhabitants are changing form both sides and pretty soon there is barely anyone left who is even aware of the danger or of the changes taking place in their minds, souls and bodies.

This was total candy for my brain; eerie, creepy, full of ominous atmosphere that cloyed each page, making it thick with anticipation and eagerness for the truth to come out. The ending was a bit startling, I would never have expected for the events that perspired to occur but it was good, albeit a bit fast. The uphill trip (reading the story) was probably the best part since the suspense was very entertaining, just as a good book should be.

- Kasia S.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well-written and intriguing premise 3 Jun 2009
By Robert - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I would agree with most of the reviewers here. This is an easy read, and a worthy investment if you'd like to escape for a bit. Tower Hill is a small college town that includes a gothic church with a mysterious history that is being targeted by two unsavory characters. The story takes its times unfolding, can be quite bloody at times, and does not spend a lot of time wandering away from the primary plot. Religion is used as a context only - and in quite an imaginative way - but this is far from anything spiritual. There is good pacing and always a reason to continue reading when one comes to the end of a chapter. Characters are fairly well defined for such a short novel, and it is easy to lose yourself in the tale in one setting. Overall, a very satisfying read, and not my last with this author.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read! 22 Aug 2008
By MRose - Published on
Format:Mass Market Paperback
What a great story! I felt like I was reading a classic "horror" novel from back in the day. No over the top gore, excessive expletives. Very real characters and excellent scenery description. I am always searching for religious horror-there's not a lot around-so I was very pleased to come upon this book. It is probably just me but I felt an explanation of some sort should have been given as to why Al Shtenko knew what he did and why. Highly recommended!
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