Thursday 10 October 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Slaughter Man - Cassandra Parkin

When her identical twin Laurel dies, seventeen-year-old Willow’s life falls apart. With her parents’ marriage faltering, she finds escape at her uncle Joe’s cottage. But even as they begin to know each other, Willow is plagued with memories of her sister. Then, Lucas arrives in her life – troubled, angry and with a dangerous past. 

Joe’s cottage is idyllic, but the forest is filled with secrets. What is Joe hiding from her? What events have brought Lucas to her door? And who is the Slaughter Man who steals through Willow’s sleep? 

As the lines between dreams and reality become blurred, Willow’s torment deepens. It seems as if her only escape lies with the Slaughter Man. 

What did I think?

I don't even read the synopsis before selecting a Cassandra Parkin book as I know I'm in for a unique and evocative read.  With her emotive writing, Cassandra Parkin is able to make the most mundane things into something dark and menacing to highlight the feelings of her characters.  Just the name of this book itself, The Slaughter Man, gave me the creeps and I only meant to have a quick peek at the book but before I knew it, I was half way through!

I absolutely adore the cover of this book; it has a fairytale feel about it reminds me of the witch's cottage deep in the wood.  Most of us wouldn't venture somewhere so creepy but after her twin dies, Willow has nothing to be scared of as the worst thing has already happened to her.  Usually I would say that I couldn't begin to imagine Willow's pain at losing her twin but I could actually feel it when reading; Willow's pain was so palpable that it felt as if smoky tendrils of emotion-filled words were seeping out of the page and wrapping themselves around my heart.

Willow's pain is made worse by her inability to speak after her twin died; it's as if her words died with Laurel.  Willow's inability to voice her pain meant that it presented itself in other forms, some more dangerous than others as she struggled to release her feelings.  Where she once looked in a mirror and saw herself, now Willow only sees Laurel looking back at her and she experiences her loss over and over again until she can no longer bear to look at her own reflection.

It was really interesting to read how people experience grief differently.  I can understand her parents needing alone time, and their loss must have hit them every time they looked at Willow, but it felt as if they were hiding their own mirrors by sending Willow off to stay with her Uncle Joe, who she barely knew.  I judged a little too quickly I think, as staying with Joe and making a friend on the neighbouring farm helped Willow to heal in a way that she would never have managed at home surrounded by memories of Laurel.  I loved the character of Willow and felt totally invested in her progress as she navigates her way through the dark land of grief and despair.  As her subconscious mind takes her on a journey in search of Laurel, she is drawn to the mysterious 'Slaughter Man' and I felt like she was on a race against time to find herself before she flirted too much with danger.

The Slaughter Man is simply stunning.  It's a haunting, emotion-filled book that hooked me from the start; remember that quick peek I mentioned earlier that turned into half a book!  So beautifully written, it's an emotive story of a family in pain after a devastating loss and their journey to find each other again.  Highly recommended.

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

My rating:

Buy it from Amazon

About the author:

Cassandra Parkin grew up in Hull, and now lives in East Yorkshire. Her short story collection, New World Fairy Tales (Salt Publishing, 2011), won the 2011 Scott Prize for Short Stories. 


Twitter: @cassandrajaneuk

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