Wychwood by George Mann **Blog Tour Review**
I am so pleased to be taking my turn on the Blog Tour to celebrate the launch on 12th September of George Mann's Wychwood. It crosses the supernatural with crime and is the first in a new series. Described as a cross between Midsomer Murders and Rivers of London, it is a mix of myth, magic and murder.
After losing her job and her partner in one fell swoop, journalist Elspeth Myers is back in her mum’s house in the sleepy Oxfordshire village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, wondering where it all went wrong. Then a body is found in the neighbouring Wychwoods: a woman ritually slaughtered, with cryptic symbols scattered around her corpse. Elspeth recognizes the symbols from an ancient local myth of the Carrion King, a Saxon magician who once held a malevolent court deep in the Wychwoods. As more murders follow, Elspeth joins her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw to investigate, and the two discover sinister village secrets harping back decades.
I thought that this was a great introduction to this series and was particularly taken with its interweaving of murder and crime with the supernatural and, possibly, a slight hint of romance... maybe. Elspeth Reeves turned out to be an interesting and nuanced main character, with just the right amount of curiosity to make her part in the story believable. She is doggedly determined to get to the bottom of the mystery and the whole plot hung together very well.
One of strengths is, I believe, that it leaves it to the reader to decide just what is happening. The Saxon myth of the magical Carrion King gives the plot a structure and symbolism which means that none of the characters are superfluous. You can sense the malevolence in the forest but at the end of the day, have to decide for yourself whether logic or magic stands.
In Elspeth and DS Peter Shaw, you can sense the beginning of an investigating partnership where they complement each other's skills. As a journalist, Elspeth can step outside the police procedural and talk to people on a different level. Fluently written, it blends the crime thriller aspects with a touch of magic. The descriptive passages are never superfluous
In short: a satisfying mix of murder, myth and magic
About the Author
George Mann is the author of the Newbury and Hobbes and The Ghost series of novels, as well as numerous short stories, novellas and audiobooks. He has written fiction and audio scripts for the BBC’s Doctor Who and Sherlock Holmes. He is also a respected anthologist and has edited The Solaris Book of New Science Fiction and The Solaris Book of New Fantasy.
He lives near Grantham, UK.
Thanks to George Mann and Philippa Ward at Titan Books for a copy of the book and a place on the Blog Tour.
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