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Blood Harvest Paperback – May 10, 2011

4.1 out of 5 stars 93 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. In Bolton's superb third thriller, the Fletchers—mother Alice, father Gareth, 10-year-old Tom, six-year-old Joe, and two-year-old Millie—receive an icy welcome on moving to isolated Heptonclough, England. When Tom swears he sees a young girl watching him from the shadows, everyone assumes it's his overactive imagination or maybe local kids playing a joke. But when one such prank puts Millie's life in danger, the Rev. Harry Laycock, a vicar who's also new to the area, suspects something more sinister might be at work. Through Dr. Evi Oliver, a psychiatrist, Harry meets a patient of Evi's, Gillian Royle, who's still distraught over the death of her young daughter in a mysterious house fire three years earlier. Harry soon discovers disturbing links between the death of Gillian's daughter and the fates of two other girls. Bolton (Awakening) expertly balances the gothic supernatural elements with a crackling psychological plot, leaving readers breathless until the last page. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Harry, the new church vicar in the small English village of Heptonclough, has plenty of experience counseling troubled parishioners. But lately he has found himself dealing with more than malaise. Three little girls have been abducted and killed, and all of their deaths are tied in some way to the church. A recent attempt has been made on the life of little Millie Fletcher, whose family moved to Heptonclough from America with dreams of peaceful days. The Fletchers’ home is very near the cemetery, and Millie’s brothers, Tom and Joe, tell tales of an eerie woman who haunts the graveyard. Is she the one responsible for the murders, or is she just trying to warn others of Heptonclough’s ills? When young Joe Fletcher disappears, Harry, a team of detectives, and a lovely psychiatrist named Evi work together to collar the culprit. Bolton’s latest modern gothic thriller (after Awakening, 2009) serves up plenty of chills and some nice romantic chemistry between Harry and Evi. But her ending is rushed and far too far-fetched, even for readers willing to suspend disbelief. --Allison Block --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Minotaur Books; Reprint edition (May 10, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312573553
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312573553
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1.2 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #537,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
If I had known more about the actual theme of the book before I bought it, I would have passed it by. This is no tea cozy mystery, nor is it "gothic" just in the sense of being set among old stone buildings and wind-swept moors in England. The plot is driven by child sexual abuse and the murder of toddler girls. I finished the book because it drew me in, as a page-turner should, and because I liked the two amateur sleuths--a vicar and a psychiatrist--so much. But on nearly every page, it seems, one encounters the terror, abuse, and murder of children and the panic of their parents as various youngsters go missing. If you can keep company with these themes and still enjoy such a story, you will likely be impressed by the pacing of the story and the twists and turns that keep you guessing about what on earth is happening. The book well-written; even so, it is nothing I would want to read again or recommend to friends.
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Format: Hardcover
Richly atmospheric, Bolton sets the pace for her riveting thriller from the first page in a gothic setting, an ancient cathedral in ruins and the graveyards that border the new home of a recently-arrived family. The rest of the village consists of tall, gloomy buildings, cobblestone streets and the moors that surround man's attempt to civilize nature. A more modest house of worship stands near the ruins, a new minister arriving to tend to the congregation. The village of Heptonclough is steeped in the traditions of the old beliefs, harvest rituals, bonfires and bloody sacrifices to appease cruel gods. The occupants of the bright new house are thrilled with their location, bordered by overgrown cemeteries with tumbled gravestones and wild vines. But as the adventurous Fletcher boys, Tom, ten, and Joe, five, explore the spooky parameters of their property, young Tom grows increasingly subdued, sensing that they are being watched.

While the boys' freedom is spoiled by their fear and an increasing awareness of a girl who hides in the shadows, whether well-meaning or malevolent, there are an assortment of other characters to flesh out this moody thriller: the handsome new minister, Harry Laycock; Gillian, a tormented mother who wanders the moors in search of her young daughter lost in a fire; a disabled psychiatrist attempting to bring closure to the challenging Gillian; and the wealthy family that virtually owns Heptonclough, their sense of entitlement inviolable. Most terrifying of all: this place is not safe for little girls, as evidenced by the tiny skeletons unearthed when a cemetery wall collapses. The happy shouts of children and harried parents are stilled by the horror of the disappearance of five-year-old Joe Fletcher and his baby sister, Millie.
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Format: Hardcover
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. After reading about it on some book blog, I thought it was going to be all about a creepy place--sort of like how the Amityville horror was all about a creepy house. The book's setting *was* creepy--but to me, it was creepy more along the lines of Thomas Tryon's Harvest Home or maybe some Shirley Jackson stories. Once I picked the book up, I could NOT put it down--very suspenseful, and I didn't see the ending coming from six miles away (a big pet peeve I have with some books.) I highly recommend this book.

The only drawback for me in reading this book was that I read a library copy, instead of getting it on my Kindle. It's set in England, and I would've liked to have been able to use the built-in dictionary and Wikipedia to look up slang terms, get more info about the setting. (I don't know all the parts of a church--what's a nave, what's the chancel? I don't know brambles from nettles. I wanted to see a picture of the moors--are they like our prairies?) None of this got in the way of reading the book--I just would've liked to have that extra layer of understanding.

Highly recommend this book--I'll be looking for S.J. Bolton's other books, that's for sure!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've been a fan of S.J. Bolton's writing since reading Sacrifice a while ago. Blood Harvest is my second read after Sacrifice, and I found myself deeply engaged with the storyline. This is a highly atmospheric read, set against the backdrop of a sleepy Lancashire hamlet on the moors. The main building in this story is an old church which has been closed for ten years. Into this setting steps a young vicar, Harry, who is eager to assume his responsibilities for the parish, but instead finds himself steeped in a quagmire of a mystery when bad weather leads to the discovery of two young children's bodies. This scene forms the beginning of the story and readers are then taken via flashback to events of the preceding months.

The key characters in the story are the Fletcher family (dad Gareth, mom Alice, and children Tom, Joe, and Millie), psychiatrist Evi, vicar Harry, a troubled young woman named Gillian, and a powerful local family (the Renshaws). Something or someone is stalking the little girls of this sleepy English village, but instead of resorting to sensationalistic writing full of gore and sordid details, the author credibly evokes an atmosphere full of menace and hidden secrets to tell her story. The suspense is palpable, and though I pride myself on being able to figure out who (or what) is behind a crime, I confess I was stumped here. There are many possible suspects but it is to the author's credit that the suspense and mystery is maintained almost towards the end.

To me, a good suspense novel has a high element of atmosphere, and this story is brimming with it.
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