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Book Review

Book Cover

Flesh and Blood


Author: Simon Cheshire
Publisher: Red Eye
RRP: £6.99
ISBN: 978 1 84715 456 9
Publication Date: 02 March 2015

When Sam Hunter's father suddenly comes into a large amount of money the family’s fortunes are transformed overnight. They move from relative poverty to a more tranquil and genteel town, but Sam suspects that there is something terribly wrong with both the area and their neighbours, the Greenhills...

Flesh and Blood (2015. 325 Pages) is another novel in the continuing Red Eye series from Stripes Publishing, a set of horror books for the young adult market. The novel was written by Simon Cheshire.

The story is written from Sam’s point of view and it is quickly obvious that he is recording events after the fact. The story starts with Sam and his family moving into their new house, father is an unsuccessful and fading song writer. Their good fortune arises when a band covers a couple of his earlier tracks, minting the family a cool million. Sam’s mother works at a bank but has failed to rise very far. It’s a typical family: lazy father, nagging wife and a son who is starting to see his parents for the people they are.

At the end of their quiet street stands the imposing residence of the Greenhills, a family at the top of the town's social strata, who give generously to charities and seem to be connected to just about everyone deemed important. The mother is a successful GP and used to appear on the television, the father is a renowned psychopharmacologist and their daughter Emma is the most perfect person in Sam’s new school.

The first half of the book reads like your usual new kid in a new town novel. Sam attends school and is lucky enough to hook up with Liam and Jo, although a chance encounter also connects him with Emma. Here Cheshire is just settling you in, introducing the character prior to scaring your pants off.

The tension in the book is expertly delivered. Sure Sam thinks the Greenhills house looks creepy and a couple of minor incidences make him think that something is going on, but he has just moved to a new school and is under stress trying to catch up with the curriculum. Cheshire then slowly starts to pile one event on to another, but not enough that Liam and Jo instantly believe that there is anything really amiss. Eventually events and evidence reach the tipping point, but by then Sam’s in too deep and way over his head.

There are a number of really good things about the book. Firstly, the writing style is that of a teenager and Cheshire is careful to keep both the tone and use of language age appropriate. At no time do you not think you are listening to Sam’s story. Secondly the pace is just about perfect, like a steam train pulling away from a station the creepiness starts slow and build throughout the book delivering an excitingly grim ending.

It is hard to find any fault with the novel and I thought that the ending was particularly satisfying. There is a sticker on the book stating that it is not suitable for younger readers, which I would agree with given Cheshire’s ability to seriously creep out the reader, but I would have thought that it would be fine for anyone over fourteen and certainly one worth checking out for an adult audience.


Charles Packer

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