Wychwood by George Mann is a dark and menacing crime drama with just a hint of paranormal activity to keep the reader on their toes. Elspeth Reeves is a woman whose life has come apart at the seams and so does what any self-respecting woman does: she moves back home to spend some time out of the city. However, she was not expecting to be met by a murder quite literally in her back yard followed by a string of equally bizarre attacks all linking back to the ancient mythos of the homicidal Carrion King.
Mann does a wonderful job of constructing his sleepy little English village. And Elspeth is a completely believable main character, and I appreciated the details that make her more dimensional, such as her ritualistic selection of music to fall asleep to. DS Shaw, detective and childhood friend, is just as well illustrated in his thoughts and actions, and they provide a perfect realist canvas for a slightly unreal villain to work against.
The murders and murderer are at first firmly rooted in realism, though the killer’s motivations are arcane, and it is not until you have made some inroads into the book that you begin to question whether there might actually be something supernatural at play. I leave it up to you to decide.