Top critical review
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Would make a good TV Drama
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.