Jan Hamlin takes a six month lease on an isolated cottage on the edge of Coleshaw Woods. Hoping for peace and time to heal after losing her job and long-term boyfriend, she soon realizes her mistake as a strange creature starts visiting the cottage after dark. This is Lisa Stone’s fifth thriller with a difference and is a fast-paced narrative in third person, 84,000 words long.
Jan isn’t easily spooked but there is definitely something out there at night. Not only is it unsettling her but also Tinder, the dog she is looking after. Although the living room curtains are closed against the night sky Tinder senses their presence before Jan hears them and runs barking to the back door to be let out. Eventually Jan catches sight of it but is even more anxious. It’s nothing like she has ever seen before.
Not far away in 57 Booth Lane, Anne Long, midwife, is overseeing a homebirth where sadly the baby is stillborn. To save the parents, Kathryn and Ian Jennings, further trauma Anne quickly removes the body and takes it away to dispose of.
Jan searches the internet for creatures living in Coleshaw Woods, but only the usual foxes, badges and squirrels are listed. What she has seen certainly wasn’t one of these. It wasn’t big enough for a person but it didn’t look like an animal either and appeared to stand on two legs. Increasingly mystified and fearful Jan asks Chris, a local man and friend of the owner of the cottage, what he knows of the creatures in the woods, but he can’t offer any more.
Mrs Slater, neighbours of Ian and Kathryn, contacts Coleshaw police station and raises concerns that the baby next door has vanished and so has the mother. DC Beth Mayes interviews the parents but finds no cause for concern when she learns the baby was stillborn.
Soon there is more than one of the creatures terrifying Jan at night. They are growing braver, appearing in the day. When Jan goes outside she feels she is being watched. She tries talking to Chris again but he is unsympathetic and says if she is too nervous to live in the country she should leave the cottage. Jan calls the police and reports intruders in her garden. DC Matt Davis finds tracks coming into her garden but no sign of anyone living in the woods. Jan fears she is losing her sanity until her friend, Ruby, stays the night, sleeping on the sofa in the living room, and hears them at the window. The following morning Ruby can’t leave quickly enough and advises Jan to do the same.
Meanwhile Kathryn and Ian have discovered that both their parents used donated sperm from the same fertility clinic in order to conceive. Could this be the reason why they haven’t been able to have healthy babies? Ian starts to investigate and what he discovers is shocking but also explains who the creatures are terrifying Jan.
As a writer of suspense thrillers I often ask myself what if? What if this happened instead of that? Or why a particular person reacted as they did. So often fact is stranger than fiction and these books start with a fact which I develop. You may be surprised to know, for example, just how many patients experience changes in their likes and dislikes after a transplant operation ~ The Darkness Within. Or how easy it is to look into someone’s home through their CCTV ~ Stalker.
Just a little bit about me. I live in England and have three children. I have always been a writ...
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