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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 23 February 2012
A cross between the psychological, the criminal and horror genres, "Blood Harvest" is a title that will pull you in, shake you about and just when you have it all figured, Bolton rips the carpet from under your feet and takes the story in an entirely different direction. This book isn't for the fainthearted - it will shock, it will scare but most of all it will most definitely entertain.

The narrative is incredibly well written and delivery is assured - the novel appears to have a life all of its own. I found the pace to be exceptional and never once did it falter, the final third of the book was breath-taking and until I read the very last paragraph I wasn't certain what would happen. Given the number of books I presently find myself reading it takes a special book to have me guessing until the book's dénouement - "Blood Harvest" has that "je ne sais quoi" - a certain something I can't quite put my hand on.

Apart from the gripping and at times unyielding psychological trauma unfolding in the book it was the characterisation that impressed me most of all. Bolton hit the nail firmly on its head with "Blood Harvest" - there was just something about the main character (Harry the Vicar) that I just couldn't shake. A humorous fellow, quick with the one liners and flirtatious demeanour he certainly had an effortless charm about him that belied his religious vocation. A newcomer to Heptonclough and all its idiosyncrasies and traditions he wasted no time in charming the local villagers.

The supporting cast play their part well - Heptonclough certainly throwing an eclectic mix of villagers into the pot -and just when you think you have them all figured out, Bolton's prose takes on a new level of complexity creating multi layered characters who suddenly have so much more to do and say.

For a book of this type the setting is, for me at least, incredibly important. It has to feel right and when the author paints an initial picture of an idyllic village you know full well things beneath the surface - quite literally in this case - aren't going to go to plan. Nothing is quite what it seems - it's this uncertainty that makes a book work for me. This isn't your usual horror story, Bolton gradually builds and electrifying tension that is certain to have your mind racing. A gust of wind outside will have you cowering beneath a blanket or reaching for the light switch. One piece of advice - make sure you've double locked all the windows and doors before embarking on this blood thirsty journey.

My first introduction to S.J. Bolton's work, "Blood Harvest" is a terrific tale of intrigue and complexity. Full of twists and turns throughout it will quite literally leave you breathless at the end - Highly Recommended.
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on 8 April 2010
'Blood Harvest' is the author's third thriller,and
it proved to be just as scary and gripping as the
first two.
The tale is set in an isolated,claustrophobic
village in the Pennines,on the Lancashire/Yorkshire
borders.A village where ancient rituals are still carried
out,and which has a history of young girls going missing
and mysteriously dying.Someone seems to want this trend to
continue. New to the village are Harry,the vicar,Eli,a psychiatrist,
and a family with three young children,all of whom become central
to the plot.
This is excellent storytelling ,well researched,with rounded
interesting characters,and not least,relentless suspense.
First Class.
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on 4 March 2012
This story starts in a remote northern village at harvest time. Newcomers, the Fletcher family - who have recently built their ideal family home on land adjacent to the church graveyard and Harry the new trendy shorts-wearing vicar are getting to grips with life in a place which has preserved and rolls out its rather weird age-old traditions and customs. Add in more characters, local psychologist Evi (love interest for Harry), Gillian, the young, lonely and bereaved mum who is being counselled by Evi (and fancies Harry) and pillars of the community - the Renshawes.

The book could be divided into two halves. After the discovery of two tiny corpses buried in another child's grave, we then go back two months to the events leading up to this discovery. The storyline is very good but the characters are weak and this really lets the book down. The vicar Harry is a likeable chap and I felt that so much more could have been made of him, but the book kept jumping to uninteresting Evi and then to 10 year old Tom Fletcher and his bland family. OK - we had to know what had happened to them, but it was like reading a script - they came across as unrealistic and shallow (possibly to keep us guessing about the perpetrator of the crimes) and it was if they were a supporting act to the storyline. Without a connection to the characters, the first half of this book didn't leave me gripped, spooked or keen to turn the pages at all.

But ...things really picked up in the second half when we got back to the mystery of the graves and although not particularly scary, the pace quickened and the book got back on track and I started to enjoy it. On the plus side, I do think that this would make a brilliant adaptation for TV, as good casting and special effects could really make this story go from average to amazing.
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on 26 April 2010
This is the third of S J Bolton's and yet another that had to be read from start to finish with as little sleep as possible! Other reviewers have explained the plot, so I won't go there. I was concerned that the plots were getting a little formulaic, but I need not have worried, the ending was not as expected!

This was on par with her first novel, Sacrifice. I found her second, Awakenings a little too unbelievable. How quick is SJB able to write the next thriller? I'm waiting!
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on 30 April 2010
When the Fletcher family move into their newly built house which is on the crest of a Lancashire moor and surrounded on three sides by a graveyard; the new vicar, Harry, takes over at the old church; and Evi the psychiatrist takes on a new patient; little do they know that the unforgettable incidents in the village of Heptonclough will change their lives.

The story begins one windy, rainy November night when the old wall of the graveyard collapses. Not only does it disturb a grave where a little girl is buried but, when the police and Harry arrive, it is discovered that there are another two small bodies there which shouldn't be.......and Harry recognises the clothes on one of them. So, who are they and how did they get there?

We are then taken 9 weeks back in time and so begins a chilling and atmospheric build up to the events leading to the macabre discovery and the events in the village afterwards.

The three narrators are 10 year old Tom Fletcher who is convinced that a strange little girl is watching the family from the graveyard, Harry, who thinks he hears voices in the church and strange things start to happen around him, and the psychiatrist Evi who is treating Gillian, a very disturbed mother whose young daughter died in a house fire and is convinced she is still alive and wanders round the moor looking for her. The Fletcher family become so concerned about young Tom they send him to talk to Evi as well.

The old village and the quirky villagers are like a throwback to another time with annual old rituals like the 'Blood Harvest' where animals are slaughtered, the traditional 'Cutting of the Neck' and where 'bone men' are made with real bones and thrown onto the bonfire.

This story was so creepy and compelling that I wanted to keep reading just one more chapter, and S.J. Bolton is so good at drawing you in and leaving you wanting more. I think she could make a walk in the park seem scary.

I wish more books would feature a map and I referred to this one at the front many times throughout the story as it helped me to get my bearings around the village.
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on 11 May 2016
Welcome to Heptonclough! A small village in the Pennines. If you're into ghostly sightings, creepy folklore, missing children and pagan rituals then this is the place for you.

This is the third book from Sharon Bolton  (known as S J Bolton when initially released) who has gone on to release a further six books plus some short stories.

The story starts in a graveyard where a landslide due to heavy rainfall has unearthed a childs grave who must have been having a sleepover as two extra bodies where found along with the gave's supposedly only occupier.

The story then goes back a few months and follows Harry Laycock the new town vicar, the Fletcher family who has recently moved into the area, Evi Oliver a Psychiatrist who is concerned for one of her patients from Heptonclough that goes for walks along the moors looking for her daughter who died in a house fire and numerous other supporting characters that contribute to the build up for a great whodunit that will keep you guessing right till the end. I love the amount of twists that Sharon Bolton throws into this story. My wife who is better than me at calling out a killer also got this wrong.

Although I love horror stories and movies I don't believe in the supernatural so I would like to point out the genius way Sharon Bolton creates a supernatural environment and later explains what caused it.

What I loved the most about Blood Harvest is the location. Now I might be a bit biased with this opinion as it is set very close to where I use to live. Although Heptonclough is a made up place the surrounding area is very real and Sharon Bolton captured it perfectly. I loved the references to The Witch Way bus service which is a real bus service, Rawtenstall Market and other local references that I couldn't help but smile when I came about them.

Sharon Bolton is a gifted author who has created a very enjoyable book with relatable characters that covers some very dark human behaviour where you feel a real sense of danger for the children involved.

4.5 / 5
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on 31 March 2012
This book keeps you guessing from the start to the finish, its a page turner keeping you up at nights, taking it everywhere you go, I found I hated things like work and sleeping getting in the way of my reading it. It is a book about a small village, your typical English village only things are not what they seem, a local vicar, a psychologist and your average family who become embroiled in strange goings on. I loved it, S. J. Bolton is on my "must buy books" list!!
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on 16 May 2010
I thought when i learnt of the book title i had the story all worked out in my head what it was all going to be about and how it would end! How wrong was I! This book is without a shadow of doubt the very best of her 3 novels to date. The plot the rituals and medical rearch is as always fully researched and executed to the very best writing i have ever seen. I also learnt about things i had not known before and it was very interesting to read about and learn something new. For anyone wanting to read something very differant from your usual thriller/serial killer books this is the one to read. In this book SJ trys for the first time to add some romance to her novels and i must say she pulled it off really well and i didn't feel i knew what was going to happen next for them both as sometimes you can in other writers books. I think SJ should try and seek to have a romance in all her books as for me thats what i think edged this book into 5+ stars for me.
I have not gone detail what the book has been about as i think it would spoil it for someone picking the book up for the first time.
This book is a must read for all you thriller seekers out there that like a twist in a novel!
Well Done SJ *****
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on 23 April 2010
I've read all three books by this author, but this is a big step forward in my opinion - its more moody, more chilling, more gripping, and definitely more dark than her first two. And there's even a touch of romance! I would highly recommend Blood Harvest as a starting block if you are new to SJ Bolton - you won't be disappointed, just exhausted from being up all night. Go on, who needs sleep anyway...
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on 6 April 2016
My current new favourite author! I read this after reading all her later work, so it was interesting to see how she began and how she's developed as a writer. Many writers fade as the pressure from publishers to produce more and more books in short time takes its toll on the writing. Not Ms Bolton.
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