My thanks to Anne Cater and Orenda for the ARC and a stop on this fantastic tour.
From the prologue and first chapter of Michael J. Malone’s THE MURMURS, a chilling shadow will dance in your mind, setting a tone of white-hot, nerve-shredding unexplainable fear that remains unwavering throughout. I 👏🏻 was 👏🏻 hooked.
Set in Scotland, against the eerie backdrop of Heartfield House, a care home that holds more secrets than a Pandora’s box, the MC Annie Jackson, encounters not just the everyday challenges of her new job, but also an ancient familial curse known only as ‘the murmurs’. The author brilliantly melds gothic thriller elements with a supernatural mystery, crafting a tapestry of tension and terror that leaves the reader breathless.
Annie Jackson is a character wrought in fear and courage, battling not just the external horrors that haunt the quiet corridors of Heartfield House, but also the internal demons of a gift – or is it a curse – that trickles through generations of women in her family. Malone’s exploration of the dichotomy of fear and courage within Annie is nuanced and evocative, pulling me into her internal turmoil with every haunting premonition.
Small communities and their myriad secrets play a pivotal role in this book, echoing the themes of secrets, faith, courage, the unexplained and self-preservation. The close-knit environment of the care home adds layers to the mystery, and Malone’s depiction of Mossgow village, bound by secrets and shared histories, enhances the atmospheric tension and kept me on the edge of my seat.
I adore this author’s way of writing his narrative. It is rich in detail, and his prose almost dances between the lyrical and the sinister, painting a vivid picture of a world where the supernatural and the mundane coexist in a tense symbiosis. The pacing is impeccable, with the tension ratcheting up with every chapter, every revelation, leading to a climax that is both heart-stopping and satisfying. Damn, he’s good!
Faith and self-preservation are explored with depth and sensitivity, raising questions about the nature of belief and the lengths one would go to protect oneself and others. Malone delves into the psychological aspects of these themes, creating a narrative that is as thought-provoking as it is thrilling.
Would I recommend this book? Holy shizzle – you bet your sweet backside I do! THE MURMURS is a masterclass in atmospheric, gothic storytelling with a supernatural twist. Michael J. Malone has crafted a compelling and haunting tale with a protagonist who is as relatable as she is enigmatic. This book is a must-read, and I, for one, am already anticipating Malone’s next creation with bated breath. If you are looking for a chilling read for your Autumn TBR, don’t miss this one!