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Hallowdene

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Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside until she's sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch's grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising aga Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside until she's sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch's grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig. She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered.


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Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside until she's sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch's grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising aga Former London journalist Elspeth Reeves is trying to carve a new life for herself in the sleepy Oxfordshire countryside until she's sent to cover the excavation of a notorious local witch's grave. Three hundred years ago, her name mixed up with murder and black magic, Agnes Levett was hanged and then buried under an immense stone, to prevent her spirit from ever rising again. Elspeth investigates but soon finds there is far more to the old tale than meets the eye, as the surrounding area is rocked by a series of mysterious and brutal murders, all of people somehow connected with the dig. She and her childhood friend DS Peter Shaw race to uncover the truth, but secrets lain buried for centuries are not easily discovered.

54 review for Hallowdene

  1. 5 out of 5

    booksofallkinds

    HALLOWDENE by George Mann completely blew me away and I cannot wait for more from this talented writer. After what happened before, Elspeth Reeves and DS Peter Shaw realise that sometimes there are things that occur that cannot be explained or understood, and when an archaeological dig results in a spate of murders in their usually sleepy village, they are unsure just what exactly they are up against. As new friendships are made, old friendships are tested, and Elspeth and Peter dig deeper into t HALLOWDENE by George Mann completely blew me away and I cannot wait for more from this talented writer. After what happened before, Elspeth Reeves and DS Peter Shaw realise that sometimes there are things that occur that cannot be explained or understood, and when an archaeological dig results in a spate of murders in their usually sleepy village, they are unsure just what exactly they are up against. As new friendships are made, old friendships are tested, and Elspeth and Peter dig deeper into the history of the local witch and the community themselves, shocking secrets will become known and an evil determined on revenge will take centre stage. Hypnotic, absorbing, and utterly unputdownable, HALLOWDENE by George Mann is the perfect blend of suspense and crime with a gothic edge. There is nothing about this book that I can pick apart as everything was spot on and left me wanting more from these characters. While HALLOWDENE is the second book in this series, it can easily be read as a standalone, but the writing is that fantastic that I highly recommend you buy both (Wychwood is the first book). HALLOWDENE by George Mann is everything that you want and more from a novel and I highly recommend it to readers of every genre as there is something for everyone, and I really hope that this series is snapped up for our tv screens soon! *I voluntarily reviewed this book from the Publisher

  2. 5 out of 5

    imyril

    I thoroughly enjoyed the latest installment of Midsomer Macabre - another small rural community shattered by a murder spree, this time with the vengeful ghost of a long dead witch looming over proceedings. Mann keeps his plot bubbling away nicely whilst taking time to stir in a more mundane threat to Ellie and Peter’s relationship. Entertaining, spooky thriller - perfect autumn reading. 3.5 stars Full review to follow. I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    So, after recently romping through the folk-horror of Wychwood, I was very pleased to return to the fictional sleepy British village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, where creepy things go on under the auspices of rural England. As a friend reading my last review said, “It’s like a cross between The Archers and Midsomer Murders, isn’t it?” This time around, our heroine exiled from London, Elspeth Reeves has decided to stop in the village she grew up with, with her Mum. As a reporter she has taken on fre So, after recently romping through the folk-horror of Wychwood, I was very pleased to return to the fictional sleepy British village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, where creepy things go on under the auspices of rural England. As a friend reading my last review said, “It’s like a cross between The Archers and Midsomer Murders, isn’t it?” This time around, our heroine exiled from London, Elspeth Reeves has decided to stop in the village she grew up with, with her Mum. As a reporter she has taken on freelance work for the local newspaper and has been given the sort of cheerful reportage activity that makes up the culture of Rural England. Despite the unsettling events of the Carrion King in Wychwood, things over the last few months seem to be settling into a pleasant routine. Her work takes on a more serious tone when she is asked to cover the excavation of an ancient grave in nearby Hallowdene, apparently that of Agnes Levett, a notorious witch. Three hundred years ago, Agnes was hanged and buried under an enormous stone, to prevent her spirit rising. The excavation is noted by the press, and as readers of such stories might expect, in true M. R. James’ fashion, meddling with old graves leads to things unpleasant - murder, all of people connected to the dig and in a similar manner to what happened after Agnes’ execution. Ellie, with her childhood friend Detective Sergeant Peter Shaw, become involved in the case and try to discover the murderer/s and hopefully bring them to justice before further crimes are committed. It doesn’t help that the local Hallowdene Summer Fayre is only days away, which may be connected. As is befitting a book in a series, things move on from the first book. Set a few months after Wychwood, we find that Ellie & Peter have started a relationship, which shouldn’t be a surprise to those who have read the first novel. There’s tension created as both are offered opportunities away from Wilsby-under-Wychwood, and they have to decide whether living in bucolic Wilsby is the right thing. In addition to the lead characters we have the usual roll of odd subjects – there's the old lord of Hallowdene Manor, forced to sell his property at a time of austerity (and, keeping up with the times, of course Brexit is mentioned), the new owner determined to make the most of the site’s potential – which is why Agnes is being exhumed.  In addition, there’s the local teenagers – Daisy, who works in the Hallowdene teashop, her girlfriend and the taciturn son of the café owner, for example, who become involved in the goings-on. Of such matters, there’s quite a sympathetic view given of ancient witches, which I thought was an interesting take. Rather than seen as a figure of fear, it appears that Agnes was a healer, who helped the locals with herbs and medicines, but who was (perhaps unfairly) accused of using witchcraft when people did not get better – a superstition based on fear and ignorance at the time.  I am sure that she was not the only one. Whilst modern day society has turned this sad event into a commercial Halloween-like parody (and there’s some relevant thoughts on such matters here), my general impression is that Agnes was much maligned – and (of course) may have returned for revenge. By the end, all is resolved and sorted out nicely, although not everyone makes it to the finish, of course. The good news is that the reader is left with a feeling that it has been worth a visit, until the next time. It’s not particularly complicated or clever, but it is a refreshingly engaging read, which I finished in a few hours. I look forward to the next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    David Harris

    'm grateful to Titan Books for an advance copy of Hallowdene. In the sequel to Wychwood, Elspeth Reeves, ex London journalist returned to her roots in rural Oxfordshire, is back with a new case to investigate. The idea of meddling archaeologists digging up something they shouldn't and unleashing dark forces isn't exactly new, but Mann handles it with aplomb, delighting in the conventions while subtlety twisting them. He gives us the eccentric villager warning of what will happen, sketches the back 'm grateful to Titan Books for an advance copy of Hallowdene. In the sequel to Wychwood, Elspeth Reeves, ex London journalist returned to her roots in rural Oxfordshire, is back with a new case to investigate. The idea of meddling archaeologists digging up something they shouldn't and unleashing dark forces isn't exactly new, but Mann handles it with aplomb, delighting in the conventions while subtlety twisting them. He gives us the eccentric villager warning of what will happen, sketches the background to the dig and brings in a whole host of rivalries and disputes that will cloud the picture - an argument over land, money problems, a rather nasty old man who won't keep his hands off waitress Daisy in the tea room, a rebellious daughter, and so on. All in the pristine heart of rural England, overseen by the somewhat bemused DS Peter Shaw, Elspeth's sometime boyfriend. If that makes you think of a certain long running ITV cosy crime series, I'm sure it's meant to and I mean that as no criticism. The tranquil village setting is just right to give substance and background when things begin to get dark and Mann creates a genuine air of uncertainty over just how far there really is a supernatural threat - in that respect the book is perhaps rather more nuanced than Wychwood - so the police investigation feels as though it has a real purpose, and isn't just a lot of bumbling coppers who should get out of the way so that the real facts can unfold. It's also quite a page turner - I finished the book in a single day - and has some surprises up its sleeve before the end. Elspeth's relationship with DS Shaw gets some focus as she weighs her options and is tempted back to the Big City by a friend with a job offer - both she and DS Shaw, who has a prospect of promotion, need to work out where their priorities lie (I'll let you guess what happens!) The only reservation I had was the "ancient pagan traditions trope" (they are so often neither ancient nor pagan...) which I always find a little annoying - but let's be honest, it's so rife in popular culture that there's little point getting picky. In all, then, a solid addition to what's clearly shaping up to be a series, somewhat pared down compared to Wychwood and with a creepy sense of ambiguity. This certainly deserves its place on your pre Hallowe'en reading list.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    I am so addicted to this series, I can't believe there are no more books out there to read yet!!! Although this is the second book in the Wychwood series, you can read this independently of the first book if you want to although I would strongly recommend starting from the beginning. That way, you can get a back story to the characters that are in this series and get a view of the 'bigger picture'. This book takes us way in the past to three hundred years ago. I absolutely adore stories like this I am so addicted to this series, I can't believe there are no more books out there to read yet!!! Although this is the second book in the Wychwood series, you can read this independently of the first book if you want to although I would strongly recommend starting from the beginning. That way, you can get a back story to the characters that are in this series and get a view of the 'bigger picture'. This book takes us way in the past to three hundred years ago. I absolutely adore stories like this, so already this book is golden to me. You have the usual characters that I suspect will be the main focus of this series, Elspeth and DS Peter Shaw, and you meet more characters from this home town. Some of these characters are just innocent bystanders and some of them are not so innocent and hold onto the history of their families for a long time! In this second book, I got more of a sense of Elspeth's home town, how the people in it operate and a bit more knowledge of the past. Such great history in this book and with the mystery of the past and present mixed in, it was definitely one of those stories that I could not put down. I was completely addicted to this book and just could not put it down. Can't wait for the next one! For more reviews, please check out the link below: Debra's Book Cafe Debs :-)

  6. 5 out of 5

    Loulou

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. A bit like a paranormal Midsomer Murders.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Lucie Morningstar

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jwoodhull

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rob Stewart

  10. 4 out of 5

    Steve Cunningham

  11. 5 out of 5

    Montanasmith

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laura Staniforth

  13. 5 out of 5

    Challenger

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  15. 4 out of 5

    Bluesun2600

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bryony

  17. 5 out of 5

    H.D. Burns

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sasha Drennan

  19. 4 out of 5

    Cyber

  20. 5 out of 5

    Clovis

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bill Martin

  22. 4 out of 5

    Cathy Lee

  23. 5 out of 5

    Ken

  24. 5 out of 5

    Andrew

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ashley Beery

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rust and Stardust

  27. 4 out of 5

    Desi

  28. 5 out of 5

    Freya

  29. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

  30. 4 out of 5

    Kristin Isabelle

  31. 5 out of 5

    Robert

  32. 4 out of 5

    DZMM

  33. 5 out of 5

    Patricia

  34. 4 out of 5

    Pamela Scott

  35. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  36. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  37. 4 out of 5

    Krystin Rachel (Here's The Fucking Twist)

  38. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

  39. 4 out of 5

    Leona

  40. 4 out of 5

    Fandury

  41. 4 out of 5

    Christine Blake

  42. 5 out of 5

    Lorna

  43. 5 out of 5

    Ron Green

  44. 5 out of 5

    Scott

  45. 5 out of 5

    Tara

  46. 4 out of 5

    Shelley

  47. 5 out of 5

  48. 5 out of 5

    Olivia Warburton

  49. 5 out of 5

    Charlie Duff-white

  50. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

  51. 4 out of 5

    Cleaver Patterson

  52. 5 out of 5

    Kit Connor

  53. 4 out of 5

    Lina

  54. 5 out of 5

    Maritina Mela

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