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Wychwood Paperback – September 12, 2017
"Warlight" by Michael Ondaatje
A dramatic coming-of-age story set in the decade after World War II, "Warlight" is the mesmerizing new novel from the best-selling author of "The English Patient." Pre-order today
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"Great fun and a spectacular read. The story of the Carrion King story is so good thatyou'll want it to be real...readers may forever fall in love with the English countryside." -- New York Journal of Books
"Though less explicit than in Mann’s Newbury and Hobbes occult mysteries (The Executioner’s Heart, 2013), there are some unexplainable events here that may have supernatural roots. Readers will be as interested in discovering what’s next for Elspeth and Peter as they are to unravel the mysteries of the forest." -- Booklist
"An ancient pagan legend concerning a murderous mage casts its dark shadow over contemporary events in this sinuous occult thriller....Mann’s characters are well drawn, and the culprit’s genuine occult powers add a frisson of the uncanny" -- Publishers Weekly
"A dark and menacing crime drama with just a hint of paranormal activity to keep the reader on their toes...Mann does a wonderful job of constructing his sleepy little English village." - Seattle Book Review & Manhattan Book Review
"A fun read, with something for fans of the cozy mystery, the thriller, and the supernatural investigation genres." -- Anthony Cardno blog review
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.
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The plot is engaging and the scenes are just right. Despite the fact that Elspeth's constant involvement in an investigation was not realistic, it still was acceptable the way it was presented, and it's a crime fiction, so why the heck not.
The arcane wasn't explained at the end, but as with all mysterious things, people tend to sweep things like that under the rug. Still, Mann could have explained it a bit.
I gave it 4 out of 5.
I really liked Elspeth as a character. She's warm and relatable, and determined to get back on her feet after the blow that sent her back to her mum's. She works hard, and her curiosity almost always gets the better of her. Wychwood is a fairly standard police investigation into a string of murders, with Elspeth accompanying Peter as he interviews several people who might be able to shed light on things.
It's a really good book, I was hooked early on, but I was disappointed by the lack of magic or fantasy elements in the book. I guess I went into it expecting something more like Ben Aaronovitch or Paul Cornell's books, where police discover that there's magic in the world, and the magical becomes a big part of the story. In Wychwood, the only reason the reader knows that magic is definitely involved is because of occasional short interludes from the killer's point of view. I'd also hoped that it might be the start of a series, but while there can easily be more cases for Elspeth and Peter, I'm not sure how believably anything magical could be tied to the town again, after the events of Wychwood.
All in all, I did enjoy Wychwood a lot, and have been recommending it to people, but it wasn't quite the book I was expecting when I started reading. A page-turning crime thriller set in a cosy English town, this book is a perfect autumn read, particularly with Halloween coming up. I'm giving it 7/10, but I'll be more cautious going into future books by George Mann.
I enjoyed George Mann's writing style. I couldn't put this book down and overslept because of that (but, that is neither here nor there). I didn't feel like it was a chore to get to the end and, to be honest, some novels feel that way because of a lack in plot or character development. But, in Wychwood, I felt mostly fulfilled at the end. I say mostly because I feel like I'm still going to close my eyes at night and see some of the images Wychwood delivers to readers. I imagine that's also a positive.
Mystery readers will delight in the story telling abilities displayed on the pages. There is an eerie realness in the characters and the need to either like or dislike them is strong.