Genre: Mystery & Thriller
Published: Jan 2020, Point Blank
About the Book
In the first of the Burrowhead Mysteries, an atmospheric murder investigation unearths the brutal history of a village where no one is innocent. When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered in the playground of the sleepy northern village of Burrowhead, the local police force of Georgie, Trish and Simon investigate. Leads take them from Alexiss recent clients to local bullies, exposing a maelstrom of racism, misogyny, abuse and homophobia that has been simmering beneath the surface of the village. Shaken by the revelations and beginning to doubt her relationship with her husband Fred, Georgie starts to realise something bad is lurking under the soil in Burrowhead, while someone (or something) equally threatening is hiding in the strange and haunted cave beneath the cliffs.
When psychotherapist Alexis Cosse is found murdered at the Burrowhead playground, local DI Georgie along with her Constable Trish start investigating the case. PC Simon is the one who found the body, and he’s also the dead doctor’s boyfriend, so naturally Georgie wants him far from the investigation. Using Trish’s local knowledge about the village, Georgie starts digging into the case and finds herself some new evidence pointing to buried secrets, and haunting ghost stories from the village’s old ruined church and the surrounding woods.
George’s husband Fergus is very keen on setting up an archaeological society in the village following the village’s varied history and works on building a network with the local village people. This creates tension between the couple and puts Georgie off whenever she gets home all tired and exhausted from the never-ending case.
Then there’s the racist notes from the local kids who have nothing to do, no proper jobs at the village. Old people who believe in ghosts and spend their days watching other people’s lives.
Then we get a glimpse of someone hiding or trapped in the caves somewhere. It’s not very clear until very late in the book but it creeps the hell out just reading it now and then between the chapters.
The description of the village is dark and gloomy, raining all the time and the weather is probably cloudy and cold all day. There’s constant attention to the clouds and the color of the sky and it’s surprising how it affects the premise of the book.
Reading this book felt like the stories I use to hear from my old Nan when younger. Only her stories were never scarier and creepier like Helen Sedgwick’s! I simply loved reading this book. It’s a chunky piece of book, this one and the descriptions are so much everywhere but I loved it. I loved knowing more about the village, it’s past, the people and even the ghost stories. I just can’t resist wanting more and more of it. Soon it became an addiction as I’d been reading the book for a week now.
Georgie’s investigation is old school, fact-based police work which depends on the forensic and other tech resources from outsources. This simply lags the process and a lot of things happen in between, that are unprecedented and unstoppable at the same time. Helen Sedgwick is a master storyteller and I can’t believe this is the first time I’m reading hers. Bold and descriptive, this books sets a uniqueness to its genre and words can’t describe the way she left the book hanging for the readers to wait for more stories from the dark and cold Village of Burrowhead. I’m so grateful for my proof copy of the book, thanks to Point Blank publishers. All opinions are solely mine and in now way biased.
Meet the Author
Helen Sedgwick is the author of The Comet Seekers (Harvill Secker, 2016) and The Growing Season (Harvill Secker, 2017).
Helen has an MLitt in Creative Writing from Glasgow University and has won a Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award. Her debut novel has been published in seven countries including the UK, US and Canada, and was selected as one of the best books of 2016 by The Herald and Glamour. She is represented by Cathryn Summerhayes of Curtis Brown.
As a literary editor, Helen has worked as the managing director of Cargo Publishing and managing editor of Gutter, and she founded Wildland Literary Editors in 2012. Before that, Helen was a research physicist with a PhD in Physics from Edinburgh University.