Wednesday 10 April 2024

Crow Moon by Suzy Aspley #CrowMoon @writer_suzy @OrendaBooks #BookReview


When the crow moon rises, the darkness is unleashed…

 Martha Strangeways is struggling to find purpose in her life, after giving up her career as an investigative reporter when her young twins died in a house fire.

 Overwhelmed by guilt and grief, her life changes when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager – a tragedy that turns even more sinister when a poem about crows is discovered inked onto his back...

When another teenager goes missing in the remote landscape, Martha is drawn into the investigation, teaming up with DI Derek Summers, as malevolent rumours begin to spread and paranoia grows. 

As darkness descends on the village of Strathbran, it soon becomes clear that no one is safe, including Martha…

Both a nerve-shattering, enthralling and atmospheric thriller and a moving tale of grief and psychological damage, Crow Moon is a staggeringly accomplished debut and the start of an addictive, unforgettable series.

Crow Moon by Suzy Aspley was published on 14 March 2024 by Orenda Books and is the author's debut and the first of a series. My thanks to the publisher who sent my copy for review. 

This review appeared in The Mature Times - March edition 

Crow Moon is the first in a new series from this extremely talented debut author. 

Combining thrills, horror and the occult this will most certainly appeal to fans of Stephen King and CJ Tudor

Martha Strangeways is an ex-journalist, mother of a teenage boy and grieving for her young twin sons who died in a house fire.
She finds solace walking her dog in the isolated Scottish countryside near to home, but her life takes a frightening twist when she discovers the body of a teenage boy. She knows the boy; he is a friend of her son. The case becomes more horrifying when a poem about crows is found to be inked onto his back. 

When another of her son’s friends; Christie, also goes missing, Martha is determined to find the truth. Working alongside DI Derek Summers, she digs deep into the village history, fearing that her son will be the next victim, and uncovering secrets that have been hidden for decades. 

Aspley creates an atmosphere that sends shivers down the back. The combination of the origins of the mysterious poem, the ever-present black crows and the isolation of the setting makes for an unsettling, yet difficult to put down gothic thriller. 

Whilst most certainly a contemporary setting, the inclusion of historic witch trials and rituals adds such tension and mystery. The creation of each character is careful and precisely done,  and the effects of grief and long-held sorrows are superbly captured. 

What a fabulous start to a new series headed up by a character one can empathise with and admire.

Originally from the north-east of England, former journalist Suzy Aspley has lived in
Scotland for almost thirty years. 
She writes crime and short stories, often inspired by the strange things she sees in the landscape around her. 
She won Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect in 2019 with the original idea for her debut novel and was shortlisted for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. 
In 2020, she was mentored by Jo Dickinson as part of the Hachette future bookshelf initiative. 
Crow Moon was also longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award. 
She’s currently working on the second book in the series, and when she’s not writing, she’s either got her nose buried in a book, or is outside with her dogs dreaming up more dark stories. 
She lives in Stirlingshire with her family. 

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