My current work in progress is a step away from the Ben Whittle series. It’s a supernatural thriller written in the first person. I’ve been reading more of the same genre recently, and Tanners Dell by Sarah England stands out from the crowd.
A Darkly Disturbing Occult Horror Novel.
Following the hypnosis of violently disturbed psychiatric patient, Ruby Dean, an unholy dark force was unleashed on the medical staff who tried to help her. Now only one of the original team remains – Ward Sister, Becky.
Despite her fiancé, D.I. Ross, being unconscious and many of her colleagues either dead or critically ill, Becky is determined to rescue Ruby’s twelve year old daughter from a similar fate to her mother. But no one asking questions in the desolate mining village Ruby descends from ever comes to a good end. And as the diabolical history of the area is gradually revealed, it seems the evil invoked is now both real and contagious. Don’t turn the lights out yet!
At that moment a cloud floated across the surface of the moon and he looked up. Was there ever such a haunting sight? A breeze sighed into the back of his neck and a flurry of leaves rustled around the porch door.
He frowned, his attention was suddenly drawn to a line of yews at the far end of the graveyard. Was there someone there or was it his imagination? A lit cigarette? A spark of red? He narrowed his eyes, peering harder into the gloom. No, it was just his wild imagination. He blinked and shook his head. He was spooked, that was all – how silly – imagining a dark shape standing there; a man in a long black coat with a black dog on a chain, the dog with red eyes. How silly. How very Rosemary’s Baby. . .Those films – The Exorcist and The Omen – they’d scared him witless as a boy and they scared him witless now.
He looked at the ground and stamped his feet. Hours to go yet. Was this a crap idea or what?
He almost smiled at the though of recounting this to Becky – far better that he’d gone home for some rest if not sleep, like she said. He kicked a small piece of gravel, letting it rattle across the tarmac… just as an audible sigh breathed into his neck
He swung around.
There was nothing there but the stone wall of the church; and his own breath steaming on the air.
God, he really was spooked…ridiculous…totally ridiculous…
He turned back to face the graveyard.
Holy shit there was someone there…
Standing under the yew trees there was absolutely definitely and without room for doubt, the figure of a man holding a large, black dog on a chain. Transfixed, Noel squinted into the dark, realising with a thump to the chest that both man and beast had eyes of pinprick red. He sat riveted to the spot for what seemed like an eternity, as the figures appeared to lift off the ground and float towards him.
Adrenalin kick-started his flight, but it was like wading through deep water with his movements in slow motion. His energy had drained away, and the surreal atmosphere crackled with static as, grabbing for the bench, he managed to propel himself upright and stumble as if drunk onto the path towards the lich gate.
Don’t look around…don’t look around…
There was an all night cafe up the road. He’d wait in there.
This is the first book by Sarah England that I’ve read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’m now a huge fan of Sarah’s writing and story-telling. Her characters are realistic and engaging, the dialogue between them suits who is speaking, and when she describes this book as a darkly disturbing occult thriller, she means it.
I’ve read a lot of scary paranormal and horror books, and this is up there with the best of them. I like horror to be implied and suggested rather than slasher, blood, guts and gore. Sarah creates an atmosphere and tension that oozes out of her story-telling, and leaves you feeling anxious about what could happen next.
The character of Ruby was excellently written, with empathy created for both her and her other identities. I also hope that Celeste will feature in a future book. If you want a story that is going to unnerve you and keep you turning the pages, then I recommend this book. One of my top reads of the year by a new favourite author.
If you like what you’ve read about Sarah’s book, then you can find out more about her and her first book Father of Lies over on her Amazon page.
As always, thank you for reading.
All the best,