Monday, 2 April 2018

Pendle Fire by Paul Southern - Blog Blitz Review

Life Of A Nerdish Mum is super excited to be taking part in the blog blitz for Paul Southern's newest release, Pendle Fire. 

Pendle Fire

Social worker Johnny Malkin is battling a crippling workload and a hostile local community. That’s on a good day: things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Two fourteen-year-old girls are found wandering Aitken Wood on the slopes of Pendle Hill, claiming to have been raped by a gang of men. With no female social workers available, Johnny is assigned to their case. But what, at first, looks like yet another incident of child exploitation takes a sinister turn when the girls start speaking of a forthcoming apocalypse.

When Johnny interviews one of the girls, Jenna Dunham, her story starts to unravel. His investigation draws him into a tight-knit village community in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where whispers of witchcraft and child abuse go back to the Middle Ages.

One name recurs: The Hobbledy Man. Is he responsible for the outbreaks of violence sweeping across the country?

Is he more than just myth?

My Review

When I first heard of Pendle Fire, I was instantly interested as I lived at the base of Pendle Hill for a couple of years and I'm very familiar with the area and Aitken Wood itself. The area is full of myth and mystery (particularly about witches), so I knew this book would fit perfectly in that atmosphere just from the blurb. 

I was not disappointed. Pendle Fire is a lot darker than a lot of crime and it doesn't shy away from dealing with extremely sensitive and yet relevant topics in this day and age. This can make it a difficult read at times due to the gritty realism of the racism and grooming, it's hard knowing that these things happen and the awful consequences that follow. The author does a really good job in my eyes of portraying this all in a realistic but respectful way. 

Johnny Malkin is an interesting and complex character. I really found myself feeling for him and his mental health as he tries to deal with his demanding job and all the darkness which, that entails as well as trying to maintain his own life. At times I just wanted him to get away from it all and be free of the darkness. 

The story itself is really well done and I thought the mythology surrounding the Hobbledy Man was very well executed. I love a bit of local mythology (real or not) and I kind of wish there was something like a Wiki page about the Hobbledy Man so I could go off and do more research about him! 

Overall a really excellent book! I gave Pendle Fire 4 stars. 

About The Author

Paul Southern was born in the 1960s to itinerant parents who moved from city to city. He lived in Liverpool, Belfast, London and Leeds, then escaped to university, where he nearly died of a brain haemorrhage. After an unexpected recovery, he co-formed an underground indie group (Sexus). Made immediate plans to become rich and famous, but ended up in Manchester. Shared a house with mice, cockroaches, and slugs; shared the street with criminals. Five years later, hit the big time with a Warners record deal. Concerts at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Melody Maker front cover, Smash Hits Single of the Week, Radio 1 and EastEnders. Mixed with the really rich and famous. Then mixed with lawyers. Ended up back in Manchester, broke.

He got a PhD in English (he is the world's leading authority on Tennyson's stage plays!), then wrote his first novel, The Craze, based on his experiences of the Muslim community. He has three other published books and has written for ITV. He was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger award in 2002 and received positive reviews from national and international press, including The Guardian, Arena, Radio 4, Ladsmag, and Kirkus, amongst many others.

To Connect With The Author


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