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Monday, 17 February 2020

‘The Devil's Garden’ by Sally Spedding

Published by Death Watch Books,
15 October 2019.
ISBN: 978-1-70252995-2

The prologue gives details of wolves being released into the wild in France in 2004.

We then go to 2005 and meet Delphine Rougier a young girl training at the Ecole de la Gendarmarie Nationale. Her class are instructed to go out and practice following a subject from a distance. By chance she spots a man and a woman tipping liquid from large containers into a stream near a farmhouse. Why on earth would someone want to do such a thing?

She is joined by a fellow student, Aristide when they see a 4×4 travelling at great speed away from the farm. The same car is later found burnt out, what happened to the couple seen in the vehicle?

Delphine is determined to find out what they were pouring into the stream and what became of them. This leads her into conflict with La Vie Sauvage a group whose aim it is to repopulate France with grey wolves.  When a school suffers a wolf attack and a young girl is savagely killed Delphine enlists the help of people she believes to be friends. However, she learns to her cost that she cannot trust some of them.

Soon she finds not only are members of the L.V.S. trying to stop her investigating, but her mother's killer has recently been released from jail and she fears he is tailing her.

Meanwhile wolf attacks are becoming more frequent and Delphine has more than one terrifying experience.

Who can she trust? Even her own father seems bent on frustrating her every move. Friends become enemies and to really confuse her, some supposed enemies turn out to be friends. All the while the wolves are still being released and are really hungry. To her disgust they have even been trained to like human flesh and a discovery she makes more than turns her stomach.

Meanwhile many other people opposed to the release of the wolves meet with untimely deaths, can Delphine outwit L.V.S. before she becomes one of their victims? Plus of course how safe is she from her mother's killer? She soon finds out!

A really spine-chilling, absorbing story. Delphine is a really sparky character with guts and determination bent on bringing the criminals to justice.

I found the story extra chilling as when a young child I often had a dream of being chased by wolves and waking up terrified.

I heartily recommend The Devil's Garden for readers who like to be frightened while feeling safe!
Reviewer:  Tricia Cappell

Sally Spedding was born by the sea near Porthcawl in Wales and trained in sculpture in Manchester and at St Martin's, London. My work was detailed, accurate and in demand, but I began to realise words can deliver so much more than any narrative sculpture or painting. Sally’s first crime mystery, Wringland, has a strong historical thread and is set in the bleak fenland around Sutton Bridge. Cloven also invokes the past while in A Night With No Stars, published in January 2005, it's a fourteen year old murder which destabilises the present. Prey Silence, set in SW France, featuring an animal rights activist, was published in July 2006. Come and be Killed, set in the Malvern Hills, came out in January 2007. Her strong familial connections with the Pyrenees, Germany and Holland have provided her with themes of loss and exclusion. The dark side of people, and landscape. The deceptive exterior, the snake in the grass are all themes which recur in her writing.

Tricia Chappell. I have a great love of books and reading, especially crime and thrillers. I play the occasional game of golf (when I am not reading). My great love is cruising especially to far flung places, when there are long days at sea for plenty more reading! I am really enjoying reviewing books and have found lots of great new authors.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you, Tricia Chappell! Much appreciated. Thanks also to Lizzie Hayes.