Sam Hurcom’s debut, A Shadow on the Lens, published last year and was described by The Guardian as ‘gothic, claustrophobic and wonderfully dark’. His second book, Letters From the Dead is a complete standalone but follows the same protagonist, Thomas Bexley, who is one of the world’s first forensic photographers. This is a stifling and atmospheric gothic crime novel set in the early 20th century for fans of The Woman in Black, The Silent Companions and Little Strangers.
The year is 1905. After a turbulent year, Thomas Bexley has become a drunkard and recluse, haunted by terrible visions of the dead. But when news of a spate of extraordinary kidnappings reaches him, he’s shocked to learn that his dear friend and former mentor, Professor Elijah Hawthorn, is the lead suspect.
Discovering a plea for help from Hawthorn claiming to have unearthed a gruesome conspiracy at the heart of the Met Police, Thomas embarks on a journey to prove Hawthorn’s innocence.
But wherever Thomas goes, he is followed by the dead, and as the mystery of Hawthorn’s disappearance deepens, so too does Thomas’s apparent insanity… How can he be certain of the truth when he can’t trust anybody around him, not even himself…?
Letters FromThe Dead is the follow-on from the marvellous, Shadow On The Lens.
Here, Thomas Bexley is still struggling to come to terms with previous events, he is virtually a recluse, drinking himself into oblivion every day.
But, then he hears the police suspect his old mentor, Elijah, of being the London Wraith and responsible for kidnappings and murders.
So, Thomas sets out to prove the police wrong and that Elijah is innocent.
This is gothic crime fiction at its very best, it reminds me of Poe’s writing and that sense of dread building through this tale. It has a real sense of time and place, the poverty of that time and the tension is palpable at times. It’s twisty , harrowing and utterly compelling. A must read for any fan of gothic fiction.
Thank you to Alex at Orion Books for the opportunity to be part of this blog tour, for the promotional material and an ARC of Letters From The Dead.