Friday 15 September 2023

The Murmurs by Michael J Malone BLOG TOUR #TheMurmurs @michaeljmalone @OrendaBooks #Gothic #Scotland #BookReview



In the beginning there was fear.
White-hot, nerve-shredding fear.
Terrifying premonitions of deaths.
And then they started…
The Murmurs…
On the first morning of her new job at Heartfield House, a care home for the elderly, Annie Jackson wakens from a terrifying dream. And when she arrives at the home, she knows that the first old man she meets is going to die.
How she knows this is a terrifying mystery, but it is the start of horrifying premonitions … a rekindling of the curse that has trickled through generations of women in her family – a wicked gift known only as 'the murmurs'…
With its reappearance comes an old, forgotten fear that is about to grip Annie Jackson.
And this time, it will never let go…
A compulsive gothic thriller and a spellbinding supernatural mystery about secrets and small communities, about faith, courage and self-preservation, The Murmurs is a startling and compulsive read from one of Scotland’s finest authors…

The Murmurs by Michael J Malone is published in paperback on 14 September 2023 by Orenda Books. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review as part of this Blog Tour. 

I have been reading Michael J Malone's novels for many years and he has never failed to impress me. The Murmurs is the first in the Annie Jackson Mysteries and paves the way for what is going to be one hell of a series of stories. 

Annie Jackson come from a family with a history. Many of the female members are afflicted with what was seen as a curse in days gone by.  Known as the Mumurs, it means that Annie, and her forbears have premonitions. They can see when a person is going to die. Not all people, just some people. It is a terrifying thing to experience as the person's face changes into just skull and bones and is accompanied by terrible murmurings. 

Annie has just started a new job in a care home when she experiences her first murmur. Or is it her first? Annie and her twin brother Lewis lost their parents tragically some years ago, and Annie has no recollection of her early years. Maybe she could always see death? 

Malone takes his readers into the wild, isolated highlands of Scotland, back to the small town where Annie and Lewis grew up. A town that is dominated by the Church, and is becoming famous due to the viral videos posted by the current Pastor .... a man who Annie was once close to. 

This is a complex, chilling gothic tale of mystery and murder. The author includes historical diary entries from Annie's female relatives which go a long way to explain how the murmurs have affected the women in her family. The witch hunts, the burnings, the terror, it's all there. 

What this author does so very well is to introduce new characters who initially appear to be bit-parts, but who become so central to the story. He gently builds up the anticipation, throwing in a few hints and many twists along the way. 

Chilling, atmospheric and so very original. Every single one of the characters are perfectly formed and the setting is beautifully portrayed. The beauty of the landscape hiding the evils of humans for so long.

An absolute joy and highly recommended by me. 

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. 

He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. 

His dark psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and is currently in production for the screen, and five powerful standalone thrillers followed suit. 

A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. 

Michael lives in Ayr, where he also works as a hypnotherapist.

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