Tuesday 19 February 2019

The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor @cjtudor @MichaelJBooks @JennyPlatt90 BLOG TOUR #TheTakingOfAnnieThorne @GabyYoung

Then . . .
One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn't, or wouldn't, say what had happened to her.
Something happened to my sister. I can't explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn't the same. She wasn't my Annie.
I didn't want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.
Now. . .
The email arrived in my inbox two months ago. I almost deleted it straight away, but then I clicked OPEN:
I know what happened to your sister. It's happening again . . .

The Taking of Annie Thorne by CJ Tudor is published in hardback by Michael Joseph Books on 21 February. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review and invited me to take part on this Blog Tour.

I absolutely loved CJ Tudor's first novel; The Chalk Man which was published in hardback in January last year. I was lucky enough to read an early pre-publication copy and was totally gripped and really impressed by the author's style. I've been shouting about that book for over a year now.

When I find out that an author whose debut novel I loved has a new book out, I have a mixture of emotions. Initially it's excitement and impatience, because, you know, I want to read it NOW. Later on, the little niggles of anxiety set in; what if it's not very good? What if the first novel was a fluke? If that's how I feel, I can't begin to imagine how the author herself must feel!

So, to The Taking of Annie Thorne.

I almost ate this book! From the very first page; that shocking and totally entrancing prologue that has a hook that wouldn't fail to catch any reader, I was in!
The prologue sets the scene for the rest of the book; it's vivid and shocking and not for the faint hearted, and is central to the whole story.

After the heart pounding prologue, the reader meets Joe Thorne; a not-so-good teacher, obviously in crisis and arriving back to the North Nottinghamshire mining village in which he spent his, not so happy childhood.
I was brought up in North Nottinghamshire, in a small village populated by miners. I went to school with lads who knew that they'd being going down the pit, just like their father and grandfather. I recognised the grimy, dreary streets; the chippy, the Chinese takeaway, the pub that had never seen an Aperol Spritz or a packet of artisan crisps. The blokes in the pub who always looked like they were wearing eyeliner because of the coal dust ingrained around their eyes, as they sat with a pint of mild and bitter mix, playing dominoes or arguing about the football. CJ Tudor made this place so real; filled with characters who never left the village and who never forgot anything from the past. 

Joe Thorne is not returning because of the vacancy for an English teacher at Arnhill Academy. He's going back because he has unfinished business. 
Years ago, his little sister Annie disappeared, and although she eventually returned home, it wasn't the loving little Annie that Joe knew. Instead, she was a distant, and cruel and quite frankly, terrifying child. She looked like Annie, she spoke like Annie, but she wasn't Annie.

Annie and Joe's father died not long afterwards in a car accident. Joe knows more about Annie's strange disappearance than he's ever admitted, but he thinks that it's time to face the truth, and to make others face it too.

The author cleverly sets her story over two time lines. We have the present with adult Joe, and the past, when he and his teenage gang ruled the streets of Arnhill. She cleverly merges these two narratives together, enabling the reader to learn more about each character, and what has formed them as adults.

The Taking of Annie Thorne is a hybrid of a novel; I'd call it psychological mystery horror; is that even an genre? There is most certainly some horrific scenes that made me look over my shoulder a time or two and I swear I heard some scuttling noises coming from under the settee .....

Cleverly and masterfully created; with characters who are perfectly formed with flaws and realisms a plenty, this is so skilful, so dark and so creepy.
Twisty, addictive, dark and utterly brilliant!

CJ Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, and has recently moved to Kent with her partner and young daughter.
Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. 
When her peers where reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.

Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and now, author.

Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller in both hardback and paperback and sold in thirty-nine territories.

Twitter @cjtudor

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