Breaking with my (slightly warped) tradition of reviewing a book about a fortnight after I’ve finished reading it – which means I’ve lost the ‘fizz’ of the journey – I am delighted to bring you a review fresh from the ending.
I bought Nina Milton‘s book ‘In The Moors‘ nearly 2 years ago when I signed up to the BA(Hons) Creative Writing degree with the Open College of the Arts and discovered that she might be one of the tutors I was assigned (she wasn’t, so ‘In The Moors’ went on the neverending TBR Pile).
However I’ve just started the Level 2 Course (‘Writing Short Fiction’), and am pleased that Nina has now become my tutor, so I’ve finally got round to reading this book which is the first of 3 Sabbie Dare (she’s a Shaman) Mysteries.
Never having had dealings with a Shaman in my life, in my head they’ve always been a kind of witchy-pagan-flowing maxi dress-with-beads-and-flowered headdress-wearing hippy-type person who goes around humming and hugging trees and chatting to woodland creatures. Because it’s a nice thing to do and wouldn’t we all do it if we could get away with it?
So I was more than a little happy to discover that our heroine, Sabbie Dare, is – although a little like my fluffy idea – a proper down-to-earth completely accessible human being with worries and hang ups and urges and no aversion to profanities and my goodness I warmed to her. Immediately.
The blurb says this:
“Shamanic Counsellor Sabbie Dare doesn’t believe her troubled client, Cliff Houghton, is capable of evil. But Cliff has become the prime suspect in the murder of a young boy after the police catch him lurking in the moors where the body was found.
Continuing the therapy they’d begun together, Sabbie recovers disturbing childhood memories from Cliff’s subconscious, shedding light on a spate of crimes that terrorized the English countryside twenty years earlier. And when a second child goes missing, Sabbie must piece together fragments of the buried past before another innocent victim is robbed of his life.”
This should be a film – or at the very least Sally Wainwright should be adapting it as a 3-part TV drama because I had the equivalent of Sarah Lancashire in my head (with long dark hair). Sabbie is a brave, fiesty, funny, Shaman who keeps hens with hilarious names and innocent people from being unfairly punished – whilst at the same time knowing when there’s evil afoot – especially if it’s directed at her… and there’re some proper “NO!!!” moments in this, let me tell you.
In fact I loved it so much I thought it deserved a better front cover and so I designed one myself. I’m not saying the current one isn’t good, I just thought it could do with a greater element of ‘menace’ – and I do love a hint of abandoned neglect when it’s called for.
10/10 – Fast-paced, believable and totally absorbing.