Published by Michael Joseph/Penguin
Ebook & Hardback (21 February 2019) | Paperback (25 July 2019)
Source: Copy for review provided by publisher
My thanks to Jenny Platt of Penguin for the invitation to take part in what must be one of the biggest and most popular blog tours – I was unable to get a space the first time round because it filled up so quickly – and for providing the review copy.
About the Book
Then . . .
One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. But she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.
Something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what. I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same. She wasn’t my Annie.
I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.
Now. . .
The email arrived in my inbox two months ago. I almost deleted it straight away, but then I clicked OPEN:
I know what happened to your sister. It’s happening again . . .
From the very beginning and especially that horrific discovery in the cottage, this book had me hooked.
Joe Thorne never wanted to return to his childhood home of Arnhill. A former pit village, it was a grim desolate place that held no pleasant memories for him. The only reason that he is back is because of his sister Annie.
Annie Thorne disappeared when she was 8 years old. She returned two days later, a silent and moody little girl, refusing to say where she had been. Joe had lost his happy and adorable little sister.
Joe can’t forget what happened to Annie and can’t let it go. He forges his CV and lies his way to a teaching job at his old school and goes back to the source of so much unhappiness. What becomes clear is that life in the intervening years hasn’t been good to Joe. Addicted to gambling and also a heavy drinker, he has incurred some big debts which need repaying and people want their money.
Joe was a typically flawed protagonist that I couldn’t help liking, although I wasn’t always sure if I could trust him or how exactly he fitted in to the overall story. As a young boy he was a loner and an outsider and to fit in, found himself involved with a gang of bullies and nasties – some of those same people still live in Arnhill and they haven’t forgotten Joe! As an adult however, he was quick to identify bullies at the school and did what he could to help. Unfortunately for reasons beyond his control, the extent of this help was rather limited. He may not have been an ideal role model, but his dry humour and witty sarcasm put me firmly on his side, even when I wasn’t sure of what role he had played in past events. He certainly earned respect from me by renting ‘that cottage’. I wouldn’t have gone near it with a barge pole – and especially after what he found in the bathroom!
There is a bit of a crossover with genres with this one. It’s a thriller, no doubt about that, but also with a supernatural and a horror element. When you see other reviews, there are many references to Stephen King. I’ve never read any SK and whilst I can’t comment on those comparisons there were certain parts of this story that had me thinking ‘what the hell…..’. If anyone is wondering just how much horror is involved, I’m not a horror reader at all but there was nothing here that really bothered me. A lot is left to your own imagination.
Set against the atmospheric backdrop of a grim and run-down former mining village is the old mine itself. It becomes a character in its right, hiding its secrets beneath underground tunnels which it won’t give up easily.
Tudor has drawn her characters superbly. Some you can feel empathy for and others just utter dislike and distrust. Whilst it’s not an action packed thrills a minute story, I thought the pacing was spot on and my interest was held all the way through.
I was desperate to know exactly what happened all those years ago and why people were still determined to stop Joe finding out the truth. From the prologue, I was expecting more of a crime thriller and what I received seemed to be something a little different; whilst I very much enjoyed it, I was left with questions that I had to answer myself and I’m still not quite sure whether I reached the right answer but that’s more than likely more down to me than the book.
The Taking of Annie Thorne was a deliciously gripping and addictive read. Bring on the next book by C J Tudor!
About the Author
C. J. Tudor lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, radio scriptwriter, dog walker, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and, now, author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.