I received an E-arc from Darkfuse Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Someone or something is killing off the residents at Old Oak Hospice. Charlie Dawes is a patient at the hospice, he sees a faceless shadow but has no idea how to stop it from taking any more lives. When a resident is cleaved in two, an inquisitive detective begins to dig a little deeper into what might be happening at the hospice and unearths a connection to an old gypsy curse.
I was really surprised by this read, it felt very different to the author's other work that I've read, more personal. I really connected to the setting of the hospice, I felt the loneliness and isolation that the residents felt, the pacing was much less frantic than some of the author's other work and this very much suited this story. One issue I've had with this author's work in the past is the repetition of themes being used, this again is absent from the story and in my opinion it's all the better for it.
The strong point in this novella is the characters, they are really well drawn and although there is plenty of questionable behaviour they are written sympathetically, even the awful Hattie. She is a hospice worker who is lazy, incompetent, scheming and manipulative yet as the story ends we are given a brief insight into her behaviour that by no means justifies what's she's done but can be seen as a possible reason as to why her life has turned out the way it has. Charlie and Cathy are both great characters but to be honest my favourite character was Inspector Jim Wayne, I'm not really sure why I liked him so much perhaps because he was so determined to solve the mystery surrounding the deaths even if it meant believing in things that seemed foolish and impossible.
A really solid read from the author, one that is more sedate in ways to his previous work but a story that I connected to much more because of this.