Wednesday 20 March 2024

BLOG TOUR: Crow Moon (A Martha Strangeways Investigation Book 1) - Suzy Aspley

When the crow moon rises, the darkness is unleashed...

Martha Strangeways is struggling to find purpose in her life, after giving up her career as an investigative reporter when her young twins died in a house fire.

Overwhelmed by guilt and grief, her life changes when she stumbles across the body of a missing teenager – a tragedy that turns even more sinister when a poem about crows is discovered inked onto his back...

When another teenager goes missing in the remote landscape, Martha is drawn into the investigation, teaming up with DI Derek Summers, as malevolent rumours begin to spread and paranoia grows.

As darkness descends on the village of Strathbran, it soon becomes clear that no one is safe, including Martha...

What did I think?

What a cracking debut!  It's as haunting and creepy inside as it is out.  This is one book where I would say please DO judge this book by its cover: just look at that creepy hourglass of black sand turning into a murder of crows.  This is the first book in a new crime series starring investigative reporter Martha Strangeways and it's an absolute belter.

I loved Martha Strangeways; she has such a tragic backstory and, even though she's not currently working, she's a tenacious reporter.  Martha can't help but be drawn into the investigation after she finds the body of her son's friend and when another one of Dougie's schoolfriends goes missing it becomes very personal as every sign points to Dougie being next.

As well as the gripping present day storyline, the chapters are interspersed with excerpts from a Book of Shadows.  These excerpts are heartbreaking as they are written by a woman trapped in an abusive marriage with her young son.  Both timelines are linked by the 'Feannag Dhubh', a poem written about crows and a woman executed for being a witch.

The writing is sublime as Suzy Aspley's wonderful words paint a dark and dangerous landscape that I could easily visualise in my head.  There's a hint of the supernatural that sent shivers down my spine and I couldn't read fast enough to discover all of the secrets the book had in store for me.

Hauntingly atmospheric, tense and creepy, Crow Moon is an outstanding debut from an exciting new voice in crime fiction.  It's a fantastic start to a new series and I can't wait to read book two.  A very highly recommended read.

I received a digital ARC to read and review for the blog tour and this is my honest and unbiased opinion.

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About the author:
Originally from the north-east of England, former journalist Suzy Aspley has lived in Scotland for almost thirty years. She writes crime and short stories, often inspired by the strange things she sees in the landscape around her. She won Bloody Scotland’s Pitch Perfect in 2019 with the original idea for her debut novel and was shortlisted for the Capital Crime New Voices Award. In 2020, she was mentored by Jo Dickinson as part of the Hachette future bookshelf initiative. Crow Moon was also longlisted for the Caledonia Novel Award. She’s currently working on the second book in the series, and when she’s not writing, she’s either got her nose buried in a book, or is outside with her dogs dreaming up more dark stories. She lives in Stirlingshire with her family.

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