blog tour, Book reviews, Gothic horror, Historical fiction

Letters From The Dead by Sam Hurcom – Book Review

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

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…?

MY REVIEW

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.

Book reviews, Historical fiction

A Shadow On The Lens by Sam Hurcom – Book Review (Now available in Paperback)

I originally posted this in September 2019, but as the marvellous book is now available in paperback, I’m just reposting…..

 

PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.

He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.

Someone had been watching us.

  1. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.

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MY REVIEW 

Betsan Tilney has been murdered and her body burnt. Due to the local villagers superstitions, her body is being kept in an abandoned church. They feel the Death is the result of the demon, Calon Fawr.

Thomas Bexley, a forensic photographer is sent to document the evidence, but he is unwell with a fever and starts to see things …including a shape over the body in one of his photographs …or is it just a flaw?

He visits Bethan’s mother and while unwell he is certain she told him, “Do not look for her with your eyes”….

Will Thomas find the killer, or is there something even darker walking in the village?

This is a creepy, gothic supernatural mystery in the vein of Poe and Lovecraft, there are even rats scratching in the ceiling….if like a historical, supernatural mystery then you’ll love this.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to originally participate in the blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.

Book reviews, Historical fiction, Thriller

A Shadow On The Lens by Sam Hurcom – Book Review

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PUBLISHERS BLURB 

The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.

He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.

Someone had been watching us.

  1. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.

As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.

A757E4BE-D760-4791-8928-BE5402D84ACF

MY REVIEW 

Betsan Tilney has been murdered and her body burnt. Due to the local villagers superstitions, her body is being kept in an abandoned church. They feel the Death is the result of the demon, Calon Fawr.

Thomas Bexley, a forensic photographer is sent to document the evidence, but he is unwell with a fever and starts to see things …including a shape over the body in one of his photographs …or is it just a flaw?

He visits Bethan’s mother and while unwell he is certain she told him, “Do not look for her with your eyes”….

Will Thomas find the killer, or is there something even darker walking in the village?

This is a creepy, gothic supernatural mystery in the vein of Poe and Lovecraft, there are even rats scratching in the ceiling….if like a historical, supernatural mystery then you’ll love this.

Thank you to Tracy and Compulsive Readers for the opportunity to participate in this blog tour and for the promotional materials and a free copy of the ebook.  This is my honest, unbiased review.
You can buy a copy here

https://amzn.to/2AjpWiL

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR 

Sam Hurcom was born in Dinas Powys, South Wales in 1991. He studied Philosophy at Cardiff University, attaining both an undergraduate and master’s degree. He has since had several short stories published, and has written and illustrated a number of children’s books. Sam currently lives in the village he was raised in, close to the woodlands that have always inspired his writing. 

 

A SHADOW ON THE LENS is Sam’s debut novel.

(Courtesy of Goodreads)