Today I’m passing the blog batton back to Mandie who has a review of The Memory Wood by Sam Lloyd. We both became aware of this book when Mandie won a proof at last year’s Theakston’s Crime Festival from publishers Transworld. Sam Lloyd was meant to be appearing appearing at April’s First Monday Crime, but Corona has scuppered those plans. It doesn’t scupper our review though so here’s what it’s all about:
About the Book
Elijah has lived in the Memory Wood for as long as he can remember. It’s the only home he’s ever known.Available from: Amazon | Kobo | Waterstones | Googleplay | Apple Books
Elissa has only just arrived. And she’ll do everything she can to escape.
When Elijah stumbles across thirteen-year-old Elissa, in the woods where her abductor is hiding her, he refuses to alert the police. Because in his twelve years, Elijah has never had a proper friend. And he doesn’t want Elissa to leave.
Not only that, Elijah knows how this can end. After all, Elissa isn’t the first girl he’s found inside the Memory Wood.
As her abductor’s behaviour grows more erratic, Elissa realises that outwitting strange, lonely Elijah is her only hope of survival. Their cat-and-mouse game of deception and betrayal will determine both their fates, and whether either of them will ever leave the Memory Wood . . .
The Memory Wood has been on my TBR list since I attended Harrogate in July 2019 when I was lucky enough to win a proof copy. Being the slow reader that I am it has taken until now to be able to bump it to the top of that list.
Elissa Mirzoyan is attending a chess competition in Bournemouth when she is abducted by an unknown man and held captive in a rundown house in the Memory Wood. It is while she is there that she meets Elijah. He has lived in the woods all his life and he likes to visit Elissa and tries to befriend her. He knows that she is being held against her will yet he refuses to help her, almost seeming as scared of her captor as she is.
The story is told from 3 different points of view, Elissa, Elijah and the investigating officer Mairead MacCullagh but at no time does this become confusing for the reader. Each character is well written, and you find that you are drawn into the story more and more with each chapter. Elissa has a very analytical mind thanks to her chess playing and uses this skill to try to maintain her memory of what has happened to her in the run up to her abduction and the days that follow as she is determined to survive the experience and kind of makes her unique and not your usual victim. Elijah is a little bit more of a puzzle. He clearly has issues, clearly missing periods of time and is very much a loner, hence why he gravitates to Elissa in the first place. His story is revealed more in the final stages of the book and you finally get to understand his actions. Mairead is dealing with her own personal health problems but is determined to find out what happened to Elissa and return her home safely to her mother.
This is the debut novel for Sam Lloyd and its twists and turns certainly kept me guessing to the end. Even when I thought I had certain details and storylines sorted in my head, by the end of the book the author had completely flipped them over and proved me wrong. I absolutely love this kind of storytelling as it is really addictive. The only thing I am now left wondering is where exactly the Memory Wood is located. I am convinced it is somewhere local to me purely based on the local police forces getting a mention. There are plenty of locations that it could be and maybe one day I will ask the author.
If you after a chilling yet compelling story then I would heartily recommend that you pick up a copy.
About the Author
Sam Lloyd grew up in Hampshire, making up stories and building secret hideaways in his local woods. These days he lives in Surrey with his wife, three young sons and a dog that likes to howl. The Memory Wood is his debut thriller.