The Himalayas, 1935. Kangchenjunga. Third-highest peak on Earth. Greatest killer of them all. Five Englishmen set off from Darjeeling, determined to conquer the sacred summit. But courage can only take them so far – and the mountain is not their only foe. As the wind dies, the dread grows. Mountain sickness. The horrors of extreme altitude. A past that will not stay buried. And sometimes, the truth does not set you free.
By the bestselling author of Eats, Shoots & Leaves and Cat Out of Hell, a nail-biting tale of good versus evil involving one man, his dog and a group of 18th-century amateur scientific pioneers who just happen to be cats.
When you are an inoffensive retired librarian with bitter personal experience of Evil Talking Cats, do you rescue a kitten from the cold on a December night? Do you follow up news items about cats digging in graveyards? Do you inquire into long-ago cats who voyaged around the world with Captain Cook? Well, yes. If you are Alec Charlesworth that is precisely what you do – with unexpected and terrifying consequences …
On one level, this is a “typical” haunted house story but Peter James has brought this tale into modern times with plenty of bombshells, twists and, given the nature of the story, realism.
Reserve The House on Cold Hill
“Two brothers. One mute, the other his lifelong protector. Year after year, their family visits the same sacred shrine on a desolate strip of coastline known as the Loney, in desperate hope of a cure. In the long hours of waiting, the boys are left alone. And they cannot resist the causeway revealed with every turn of the treacherous tide, the old house they glimpse at its end . . . Many years on, Hanny is a grown man no longer in need of his brother’s care. But then the child’s body is found. And the Loney always gives up its secrets, in the end.”
‘This is a novel of the unsaid, the implied, the barely grasped or understood, crammed with dark holes and blurry spaces that your imagination feels compelled to fill’ Observer
Andrew Michael Hurley’s first book has been credited with reviving the British gothic fiction genre almost single-handedly; been shortlisted for a number of awards and now gone on to win the Costa First Book Award. Judges describing it said “We all agreed this book is as close to the perfect first novel as you can get.”
If it had another name, I never knew, but the locals called it the Loney – that strange nowhere between the Wyre and the Lune where Hanny and I went every Easter time with Mummer, Farther, Mr and Mrs Belderboss and Father Wilfred, the parish priest. It was impossible to truly know the place. It changed with each influx and retreat, and the neap tides would reveal the skeletons of those who thought they could escape its insidious currents. No one ever went near the water. No one apart from us, that is. I suppose I always knew that what happened there wouldn’t stay hidden for ever, no matter how much I wanted it to.
What I will say is that it involves elephants, a love affair, a young child, a psychic, an old crime, a drunken ex police officer and much more.
Each short chapter is seen through the viewpoint of the characters and builds up into telling the whole story.
I found it hard to get into, too much of the elephants, but worth persevering with.
Reserve Leaving Time
This is a must for all those who enjoyed Roald Dahl’s Tales of the Unexpected.
Great stories where you don’t see what’s coming (most of the time). It would spoil it if I told you the content of the stories.
They include ghosts, revenge, the number 13, macabre stuff and a couple of stories featuring Roy Grace.
Thoroughly enjoyed these stories.
Reserve A Twist of the Knife
Galley Beggar, local heroes of the publishing world (formed out of Norwich’s Book Hive and brave first publishers of A Girl is a Half-Formed Thing) have released the first in a series of short single-volume reprints of classic stories. Real little beauties in attractive covers, they are just the thing for a short bus journey. First up they have released four classic ghost-stories.
Set during and just after the First World War, The Lie is an enthralling, heart-wrenching novel of love, memory and devastating loss by one of the UK’s most acclaimed storytellers. Cornwall, 1920, early spring.
A young man stands on a headland, looking out to sea. He is back from the war, homeless and without family. Behind him lie the mud, barbed-wire entanglements and terror of the trenches. Behind him is also the most intense relationship of his life.
Daniel has survived, but the horror and passion of the past seem more real than the quiet fields around him. He is about to step into the unknown. But will he ever be able to escape the terrible, unforeseen consequences of a lie?
This is an engaging, fairly short read, and I liked the present day parts more than the wartime storyline. This still doesn’t rival my favourite all time Dunmore The Siege, principally because this ending was simply too predictable. Worth reading nonetheless!
Dersingham Library has just celebrated its 40th birthday. To remind everyone of what was happening in the world of popular reading, we called in a selection of the hottest reads of 1974. What have you read? What would you try now?
Compulsive daydreamer Isadora Wing doesn’t want much – just to be free and to find the perfect, guiltless, zipless sexual encounter.
Pursuing this ideal across two continents, she discovers just how hard it can be to make one’s dreams come true.
Though Isadora fears flying (in all possible senses), she forces herself to keep travelling, risking her marriage and even her life for her own special brand of liberation. This intensely witty and exuberant novel is about how she achieves her freedom and loses her fear.
It was only when the bones of the first devoured victims were discovered that the true nature and power of these swarming black creatures with their razor sharp teeth and the taste for human blood began to be realised by a panic-stricken city.
For millions of years man and rats had been natural enemies. But now for the first time – suddenly, shockingly, horribly – the balance of power had shifted.
‘Alive‘ tells the true story of a group of plane crash survivors. Weakened by starvation, extreme cold, and by the awful knowledge that the search for them had been called off, the survivors had to eat the flesh of their dead companions to survive.
Carrie White is no ordinary girl. Carrie White has the gift of telekinesis. To be invited to Prom Night by Tommy Ross is a dream come true for Carrie – the first step towards social acceptance by her high school colleagues. But events will take a decidedly macabre turn on that horrifying and endless night as she is forced to exercise her terrible gift on the town that mocks and loathes her .
It was just another day in the life of a small Atlantic resort until the terror from the deep came to prey on unwary holiday makers. The first sign of trouble – a warning of what was to come – took the form of a young woman’s body, or what was left of it, washed up on the long, white stretch of beach . . . A summer of terror has begun. Peter Benchley’s JAWS first appeared in 1974. It has sold over twenty million copies around the world, creating a legend that refuses to die – it’s never safe to go back in the water .
Blubber is a thick layer of fat that lies under the skin and over the muscles of whales . . . When Linda innocently reads out her class project, everyone finds it funny. Linda can’t help it if she’s fat, but what starts as a joke leads to a sustained and cruel ritual of humiliation. Jill knows she should defend Linda, but at first she’s too scared. When she eventually stands up to the bullies, she becomes their next victim – and what’s worse, Linda is now on their side .
This book traces our rise, both as a species and as moulders of our own environment and future. Covering invention, from the flint tool to the theory of relativity, it demonstrates man’s ability to understand nature and to control it.