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by S.J. Bolton

Pub Date: June 8th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-312-60051-8
Publisher: Minotaur

Did you hear that? Mommy’s calling.

Ten-year-old Tom, his six-year-old brother Joe and their toddler sister Millie, new to Heptonclough, are not so sure they like the tiny village. Something’s watching them, and every rustle of the leaves seems to be calling out that their mommy wants them. New vicar Harry Lascock also senses something’s not right in the church that’s just been reopened after ten years. In the interim, three toddlers, Lucy, Megan and Hayley, have died, and Millie may be next. Hayley’s mother Gillian is so disturbed that she’s in therapy with Dr. Evi Oliver, though her treatment is jeopardized by Gillian’s obsession with Harry and his attraction to Evi. Responding to the strange emanations from the woods, Tom and Joe refuse to leave Millie alone. Tom is so adamant about hearing and seeing things others don’t notice that he too comes under Dr. Evi’s care. Then someone switches real blood for the wine in the communion cup. The coffin containing one child’s body turns out to hold two more. And straw effigies prepared for the Day of the Dead bonfire move on their own. Even worse, young Joe goes missing. Has he been secreted in an abandoned well hole? The church crypt? One of the ornamental bell towers? If so, who did it and why? And will he be the next child to die in Heptonclough?

Bolton (Awakening, 2009) neatly treads the line between the supernatural and the psychopathic in a very scary tale of village secrets.