The latest novel from Joanna Briscoe is written under The Hammer imprint and is very much a “horror” tale however Briscoe has not altered her trademark style. She writes beautifully about lives falling apart and this book is no different. It is 1963 and young mother Rowena Crale has moved with her husband and five children away from London to the small village of Crowsley Beck. They have bought the house next door to her mother in law and are knocking the two houses together. It is a stressful time the house seems to be resisting all efforts at change, strange smells and leaks appear and walls and ceilings bulge. The noise and mess is chaotic and Rowena is struggling to wean her youngest from the breast and worries about Evangeline her daughter; named for the grandmother whose house they have taken over. Evangeline is a strange and possibly disturbed child who wanders all over the village so when she disappears for days on end Rowena and Douglas call the police but they aren’t really worried it’s when their older, prettier daughter vanishes that they panic and as a search is mounted it seems that the quaint village may not be the safe haven they thought. Briscoe slowly builds the tension in this intense and claustrophobic little book bringing it to a surprising and yet satisfying ending, she takes a scalpel to humanity and shows us the human heart in all its darkness and glory. Thanks to welovethisbook for a copy of this book. This review also appeared on welovethisbook.