My enormous thanks to Jenny Platt at Penguin and Michael Joseph for sending me a copy of C. J. Tudor’s new book The Taking of Annie Thorne in return for an honest review, even though I wasn’t able to participate in the blog tour during my tour sabbatical.
I have reviewed C. J. Tudor’s debut The Chalk Man here and so I was delighted to have the opportunity to read The Taking of Annie Thorne.
The Taking of Annie Thorne is published today, 21st February 2019, by Michael Joseph and is available for purchase through the links here.
The Taking of Annie Thorne
Then . . .
One night, Annie went missing. Disappeared from her own bed. There were searches, appeals. Everyone thought the worst. And then, miraculously, after forty-eight hours, she came back. Though she couldn’t, or wouldn’t, say what had happened to her.
But something happened to my sister. I can’t explain what.
I just know that when she came back, she wasn’t the same.
She wasn’t my Annie.
I didn’t want to admit, even to myself, that sometimes I was scared to death of my own little sister.
Now . . .
The email arrived in my inbox nearly two months ago.
I almost deleted it straight away – but I clicked Open:
I know what happened to your sister. It’s happening again . . .
My Review of The Taking of Annie Thorne
Joe Thorne is back teaching in the village where he grew up…
The Taking of Annie Thorne opens in dramatic style and simply doesn’t let up until the last full stop. There’s a sinister menace that oozes eerily from the page and under the skin of the reader so that they feel as threatened as do many of the characters. I felt disturbed and uneasy most of the time I was reading and yet I was compelled to continue. It’s no exaggeration to say that I devoured The Taking of Annie Thorne in less than 24 hours because it held me spell-bound.
C. J. Tudor has such an effortless style to read because each word is perfectly attuned to her plot and theme, making for a narrative that enchants the reader in an almost sinister way. The Taking of Annie Thorne is so creepy and convincing. I thought the balance of the preternatural and more ordinary aspects of the story was sublimely handled.
I thought the plotting was excellent too. The tension builds as past actions are gradually uncovered and there are many unexpected elements that literally had me exclaiming aloud. It’s C. J. Tudor’s ability to create an irresistible narrative voice in Joe Thorne, who occasionally appeals directly to the reader, that works so well here. Joe is flawed, with an addictive personality but he is a genuine tragic hero of Shakespearean dimensions so that I was on his side even when my moral compass told me it was wrong. The style of writing made me complicit in the action.
As is often the case with impeccably plotted books like The Taking of Annie Thorne, it’s tricky to review without revealing what happens. There’s a fast pace that flicks effortlessly between past and present. There are elements of supernatural horror and everyday life. There are themes of identity, love and revenge. Whatever I might want to say about The Taking of Annie Thorne but can’t for fear of spoiling the read for others, I can say it’s brilliant, atmospheric and unsettling – an absolute corker that I can’t recommend highly enough!
About C. J. Tudor
C. J. Tudor was born in Salisbury and grew up in Nottingham, where she still lives with her partner and young daughter. Her love of writing, especially the dark and macabre, started young. When her peers were reading Judy Blume, she was devouring Stephen King and James Herbert.
Over the years she has had a variety of jobs, including trainee reporter, waitress, radio scriptwriter, shop assistant, voiceover artist, television presenter, copywriter and now author.
Her first novel, The Chalk Man, was a Sunday Times bestseller and sold in thirty-nine territories.