Today it is my absolute pleasure to share my review of The Taking of Annie Thorne by C.J. Tudor as part of the blog tour. A huge thanks to Jenny Platt at Penguin – Michael Joseph for inviting me to join the tour and providing the advance review copy. I’ve been looking forward to reading this ever since I saw it was up for sale last year. Before I share my thoughts, here is what the book is all about:
The Bookish Bits
One night, Annie went missing.
Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst.
And then, after 48 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.
Chalk Man was one of my top reads of 2018, a truly stunning and chilling debut novel that I simply ate up. When you love a book that much it always gets you wondering whether or not the next book can possibly be just enough. I can’t imagine what it’s like to be the author waiting to see the verdict. Well, I’m happy to report, for me at least, The Taking of Annie Thorne is every bit as chilling, entertaining and tense as it’s predecessor and get a massive thumbs up from me.
I don’t want to say too much about the story as it’s really best left to you to read what happens. All I will say is that the main protagonist, Joe Thorne, finds himself summoned back to his childhood home of Arnhill. I say summoned because that it pretty much what happens. although it is something of a welcome opportunity to start again. Well … almost welcome. Arnhill holds some dark memories, ones that Joe would rather forget, but when he gets a cryptic message, linking events in the present day back to his youth, he feels compelled to return and face some pretty horrific demons of his own.
From the very first chapter of the book you are drawn into CJ Tudor’s dark imagination. The prologue sets the tone for the whole story and you know from the off that something very bleak and troubled lies at the heart of Arnhill. It is a shocking opener and no mistake, probably something of a sleep stealer too as if you are anything like me you will feel compelled to read on to try and determine even just a fraction of what is going on. Creeping and atmospheric from the off, there are few moments of lightness in this story, and the tension is palpable.
I was really drawn to the character of Joe. He’s not perfect, far from it as it turns out, but he is a character you can root for, and the moment I realised what was really happening, the more I felt for him. Some of the brighter moments in the story come when CJ Tudor explores the relationship between Joe and his younger sister, Annie. They are fresh, and touching, making Annie’s disappearance and the aftermath even more emotional. In fact, I’d say it was Joe’s flaws which made him more believable and relatable. If he had simply been a goody two shoes coming home to try and prevent a tragedy, he’d have been a bit dull. The fact he is nursing secrets of his own makes him more mysterious and interesting.
The book gives a serious nod to the ‘King’ of the psychological horror novel, Mr Stephen King, and the writer’s love of his work really shows through in this book. It put me in mind of one of his books, one of my favourites in fact, but I can’t say which one or you’ll know exactly where the book is going. But the way in which CJ Tudor has once again captured the sense of the small town, and the claustrophobic and intense nature of a place where the natives never seem to leave, is spine-chilling and perfectly pitched. Arnhill is a former mining town and yet despite the decline of its industry, people seem to still stay, something keeping them drawn to the town. This makes Joe’s return all the more jarring and intriguing. He escaped once. What on earth could bring him home.
If you love SK books, or you loved Chalk Man, then I’d say you are going to absolutely love this book too. Not as dark as a traditional horror novel, it will still give you chills and thrills and make your skin crawl in all the most perfect of way. I can see this being another big hit for an author who is certainly cementing herself as one of the best in the genre. Top stuff.
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.
Author Links: Twitter | Facebook
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