Cover design by Julia Lloyd
Thank God for review copies. I purchase a lot of books, but truth be told, I tend to buy in a pretty predictable band. Space opera, weird westerns, short story collections, some epic fantasy… when I crack open my wallet, that’s usually not the time I step out of my comfort zone. But I don’t control the flow of review copies into the Black Gate offices, and frequently I get one I might not have given a second glance on a bookstore shelf — but which is well worth a closer look all the same.
Tim Major’s new novel is a perfect example. A small-town supernatural thriller in the vein of The Wicker Man and John Wyndham’s The Midwich Cuckoos, Hope Island “is a deliciously creepy mystery. Tim Major knows how to wield the weird” (D. K. Fields). Here’s an excerpt from Elloise Hopkins’ feature review at The British Fantasy Society.
Nina Scaife, TV producer, English-woman, recently abandoned wife and mother of one, has arrived in Maine and is trying to work out how to break the news to her daughter and her husband’s parents that he has not only left them but has another family, another wife and other children, elsewhere. It never seems the right time to break the news to Laurie. Each time she tries, it seems someone is intent on interrupting her.
Breaking the news and visiting Cat’s Ear Cottage would mark a new start in Nina’s life, now she knows the truth. But on the way to Hope Island the strange occurrences begin. Nina swerves to avoid a child in the road, follows her, but finds nothing. As the week goes on, and as she encounters more of the island’s few residents, the unspoken hangs over Nina and the tension swells. There is a threat in the air and much as Nina tries to avoid it, she is slowly drawn into the island’s terrible secrets.
From the moment it starts, Hope Island carries in its narrative a continuous sense that something awful is about to happen… Major cleverly explores the impact of aural disturbance on body and mind through a sinister thriller that unveils deliciously slowly through to its climax… What we have here is supernatural speculative fiction set against the backdrop of an island with a secretive and segregated community. We have the local pub and an artists’ colony, a summer school and little else, but it is enough to cleverly convey Nina’s loneliness and struggles as an outsider upon arrival and her slow but sure realisation that something on the island is very wrong and the danger to she and her daughter may be very real.
Tim Major is the author of Snakeskins (Titan 2019) and the collection And The House Lights Dim (Luna Press, July 2019). Hope Island was published by Titan Books on March 31, 2020. It is 381 pages, priced at $14.95 in paperback and $7.99 in digital formats. The cover was designed by Julia Lloyd. Read an excerpt at the B&N Sci-Fi & Fantasy Blog.
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