The Murmurs – Michael J Malone | Book Review | #TheMurmurs | @michaelJmalone1 @OrendaBooks @RandomTTours

A young woman starts experiencing terrifying premonitions of people dying, as it becomes clear that a family curse known only as The Murmurs has begun, and a long-forgotten crime is about to be unearthed…

In the beginning there was fear. White-hot, nerve-shredding fear. Terrifying premonitions of deaths. And then they started…The Murmurs…

On the first morning of her new job at Heartfield House, a care home for the elderly, Annie Jackson wakens from a terrifying dream. And when she arrives at the home, she knows that the first old man she meets is going to die.

How she knows this is a terrifying mystery, but it is the start of horrifying premonitions … a rekindling of the curse that has trickled through generations of women in her family – a wicked gift known only as ‘the murmurs’…

With its reappearance comes an old, forgotten fear that is about to grip Annie Jackson. And this time, it will never let go…

A compulsive gothic thriller and a spellbinding supernatural mystery about secrets and small communities, about faith, courage and self-preservation, The Murmurs is a startling and compulsive read from one of Scotland’s finest authors…

Publisher: Orenda Books
Format: Ebook, Audio, Paperback (14 September 2023)
Source: PDF to review


My thanks to Anne of Random Things Tours for the invite and the publisher for the ecopy to review. As soon as I saw the book mentioned on social media it went on my wish list. Having read previous books by this author (other reviews can be found via the search bar), I knew it would be a gripping read and I wasn’t disappointed.

Annie Jackson’s first day of her new job at a care home didn’t go well. Annie is afflicted by an unusual ‘gift’ which actually is more of a curse passed down through the female line – voices in the head she called ‘the murmurs’ accompany visual experiences or premonitions and as the story reveals her family background and troubled childhood, it comes as no surprise that she feels she is going crazy. Set mainly in the Scottish highlands, The Murmurs is a disturbing and utterly engrossing thriller of deception, family relationships and long hidden crimes, all bound together by a background of family curses, betrayal and apparent witchcraft which, together with the occasional chapters from the memoir of a long ago descendant, really added to the chill factor.

I did sometimes find Annie a challenging character, she could be rather prickly but I had every empathy with the effect this phenomena and its implications had on her life and especially when she was trying to recall lost memories and find her way around secrets and lies. In comparison, her twin Lewis was more straightforward, although he didn’t suffer in the same way as Annie, he was a supportive sibling and the genuine affection between the two made Annie’s situation feel less isolating.

The story is told from various perspectives and as well as the present story, has a shifting historical timeline which I enjoyed just as much. There were so many diverse characters – apart from the main Jackson family, there was a religious connection with a rather dubious, almost cultish, figure at the head of the small community who actually gave me the creeps.

With the well rounded characterisation and superb plotting which definitely threw me off course a few times, there is something here that will please so many readers whether your bag is crime, thrillers or an interest in the supernatural. I thought it was excellent, (as I knew it would be) and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend. The Murmurs is apparently the first in a series, bring it on!

Michael Malone is a prize-winning poet and author who was born and brought up in the heart of Burns’ country. He has published over 200 poems in literary magazines throughout the UK, including New Writing Scotland, Poetry Scotland and Markings. Blood Tears, his bestselling debut novel won the Pitlochry Prize from the Scottish Association of Writers. His dark psychological thriller, A Suitable Lie, was a number-one bestseller, and is currently in production for the screen, and five powerful standalone thrillers followed suit. A former Regional Sales Manager (Faber & Faber) he has also worked as an IFA and a bookseller. Michael lives in Ayr, where he also works as a hypnotherapist.

FOLLOW THE AUTHOR: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Orenda Books | Amazon UK


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