A haunting Halloween read from Harper Fox…
Author: Harper Fox
Cover Artist: Harper Fox
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Halloween is a wild, weird night in the lonely moorland towns of the north. It’s dark and cold, and cracks can open up in the fabric of the safest world.
Davey Bell has been trying to live safely. He’s struggled through a rough adolescence and has a decent job, a home of his own. He agrees to a meeting with his ex, even though Burdo got him into so much trouble in the past.
But Burdo has plans, armed robbery amongst them. When Davey recoils from his efforts at blackmail, Burdo swears he’ll track him down. There’s something inhuman about Burdo’s rage, and Davey panics and runs from him. The town is small, the darkness beyond it absolute. Davey has lived there all his life, but he takes a wrong turn on the moorland road and is suddenly lost.
It’s the first night of winter, and set to freeze hard. Not much chance of survival for a man without shelter, a man on the run from his past… Then Davey stumbles into the forest, and his fears of Burdo and the cold dissolve to nothing at the sound of deep, bestial growls.
The moon is full. Ancient moorland legends are coming to life in its silvery radiance. Out of the woodland steps a strange young man, and the snarling beasts fall back. He’s offering sanctuary, but at what price? He’s the most beautiful creature Davey has ever seen. If Davey follows him in fascination through the gateway of Wolf Hall, what secrets will unfold before the dawn?
This is a nice short Halloween read, but it feels like the beginning of a series rather than a novella, a scene setter for a bigger story. As Harper sets a scene so wonderfully, Wolf Hall is still a good read. The first part veers towards gritty realism, set in a cafe with plastic benches and chairs in a ‘down at heel’ ex-mining community. John Burden (Burdo) has asked to meet his ex, David Bell (Davey) in this cafe. Time has not been kind to ‘Burdo’ drugs and unemployment can grind down an individual and a town.
Events turn ugly between the two men and ‘Davey’ is forced to run from ‘Burdo’. This is where Harper Fox comes into her own. Fleeing from his pursuer, Davey chooses a path that leads to ‘Wolf Hall’;
The tarmac ran out on the Wolf Hall branch of the road, became a bed of pine needles. They made for soft walking. He barely noticed that grey pillar trunks had begun to rise around him, that as well feeling the cold he was hearing it, a high, sweet keening of wind through the tops of the trees.
He is saved from hypothermia and his pursuer by Lowrie who lives in Wolf Hall. It is Lowrie’s birthday either that night, Halloween, or the next day he’s not sure and he will be turning twenty-one. Davey’s time with Lowrie in Wolf Hall turns, romantic, fearful and dreamlike in equal measure. The character of Lowrie is adorable and sweet, witty and as the author describes,
He made the beauty of the saffron-berried rowans behind him fade to grey.
I don’t want to spoil the story by revealing details that should be read, but there is a dark incident in Davey’s past that threatens his new found friendship with Lowrie, and maybe his own freedom. Additionally, Lowrie and his family also have a big secret. I hope this is the beginning of a series, as this story felt like the introduction of two very enjoyable characters.
In the light of QRM, the last sentence in the story felt very relevant. Whilst travelling on a bus people are looking at them…Lowrie thinks it’s his reputation but Davey says;
I don’t think it’s that. I think it’s because you’ve got your arm round me. ‘Oh’ Lowrie smiled…, and left his arm exactly where it was.
I would like to thank the author for providing me with the eARC of this title in exchange for my honest opinion.
I have a number of paperbacks, most of which are signed, to giveaway. Over the between now (11 Mar 2017) and 31 Mar 2017, every comment on the blog (this post and all other new posts), will be entered to win 1 of these paperbacks. There are also some misc swag items, so there will be a few packs of these to give away as well.
Thank you so much for your support over the last 4 years. Prism will be closing its doors on 1 April 2017. All content will remain available, but no new content will appear after 31 Mar 2017. As such all request forms have been turned off. Again Thank you,
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