Sunday 21 July 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Shadow Man - Mark Brownless

Idyllic memories. A perfect childhood. A secret buried for thirty years.

None of us could remember why we drifted apart – we were always so close at school but then… you know. That was thirty years ago, and I hadn’t thought of my school friends in all that time – it was like I’d been made to forget.

And then the dreams started. Dreams that I knew I’d had before. Horrific dreams of fear and fire and death. Dreams of the Shadow Man, a ghostly urban legend who seemed to hang over my home village like an evil spirit. I’d begun to remember, my memories of back then becoming two-dimensional – a lie to mask what really happened – and I knew we’d have to go back. Back to Janey, because she never left.

What did happen to us back then, and do we really want to know? And what about the supernatural horror lurking in the shadows – could we face the Shadow Man again?

What did I think?

At just under 250 pages, this is a book that you can easily read in one sitting, which is exactly what I did.  Not just because it's a reasonably short book but also because I simply couldn't put it down.

As a pre-teen in mid-1980's, the dual time-frame in this book was very nostalgic for me; it brought back memories of long hot summers riding around on our bikes until 10pm and sledging in the never-ending winters.  This is a huge thought-provoking element of the book; in my memories, it didn't rain in the summer, yet in reality it's summertime in Britain so it'll have rained nearly every day, for as Mark Brownless says, 'our memories edit out the rain'.  It's always intrigued me how a long forgotten memory can appear from a simple trigger, such as a sight, smell or sound.  The human brain is a wonderful, complex organ that stores information and fires it back out at us when we thought we'd lost it forever.

Philippa (Flip) and her friends were spooked by the Shadow Man in their youth, a dark ghostly presence that burned its victims alive.  After leaving their home village, they had forgotten about the Shadow Man but several years later they all shared a common dream and returned home to visit the one friend who never left, Janey.  Something happened to Janey in the past, although none of the girls can quite remember what happened, but remembering this will prove key to catching the Shadow Man once and for all.

This was pretty spooky at times and although I did guess the plot quite early on, I still had an element of doubt as to who or what the Shadow Man actually is.  I think I'd totally bought into the childhood memories and felt how scared the girls were whilst their village was being terrorised.  There was even talk of the possibility of spontaneous human combustion at one point and I remember being fascinated by this hot topic (no pun intended) back in the day.

I deliberated a little over my rating for this one; although I guessed the shocking twist, I still couldn't put it down.  So because I was so hooked, I think it does deserve the full five stars, although realistically it's a 4.5 from me but I never do things by halves.

Nostalgic, thought-provoking, completely addictive and pretty scary at times, The Shadow Man is a must read for anyone who wants something a bit different in a thriller.  I definitely want to read more from Mark Brownless, past and future, and I'm delighted to discover that he has another tales of the unexpected style thriller in his back catalogue.

I chose to read an ARC and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Mark Brownless lives and works in Carmarthen, West Wales.

He has been putting ideas on paper for some years now but only when the idea for THE HAND OF AN ANGEL came to him in the autumn of 2015 did he know he might be able to write a book. Mark likes to write about ordinary people being placed in extraordinary circumstances, is fascinated by unexplained phenomena, and enjoys merging thriller, science fiction and horror.

Mark's new novel, The Shadow Man is a terrifying horror thriller imagining what would happen if you found out the memories of your childhood were untrue, and that something sinister was lurking behind the facade of your life. Could you face what had happened back then? Could you face The Shadow Man.

Mark is also fascinated by myths and legends such as those of Robin Hood and King Arthur. This has culminated in the release of his short story series, Locksley, a Robin Hood story.

Twitter : @MarkBrownless

Follow the tour:

1 comment: