Archive for April 4th, 2018

Pendle Fire


Pendle Fire by Paul Southern

Social worker Johnny Malkin is battling a crippling workload and a hostile local community. That’s on a good day: things are about to get a whole lot worse.

Two fourteen-year-old girls are found wandering Aitken Wood on the slopes of Pendle Hill, claiming to have been raped by a gang of men. With no female social workers available, Johnny is assigned to their case. But what, at first, looks like yet another incident of child exploitation takes a sinister turn when the girls start speaking of a forthcoming apocalypse.

When Johnny interviews one of the girls, Jenna Dunham, her story starts to unravel. His investigation draws him into a tight-knit village community in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where whispers of witchcraft and child abuse go back to the Middle Ages.

One name recurs: The Hobbledy Man. Is he responsible for the outbreaks of violence sweeping across the country?

Is he more than just myth?

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Author’s Bio

Paul Southern was born in the 1960s to itinerant parents who moved from city to city. He lived in Liverpool, Belfast, London and Leeds, then escaped to university, where he nearly died of a brain haemorrhage. After an unexpected recovery, he co-formed an underground indie group (Sexus). Made immediate plans to become rich and famous, but ended up in Manchester. Shared a house with mice, cockroaches, and slugs; shared the street with criminals. Five years later, hit the big time with a Warners record deal. Concerts at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, Melody Maker front cover, Smash Hits Single of the Week, Radio 1 and EastEnders. Mixed with the really rich and famous. Then mixed with lawyers. Ended up back in Manchester, broke. He got a PhD in English (he is the world’s leading authority on Tennyson’s stage plays!), then wrote his first novel, The Craze, based on his experiences of the Muslim community. He has three other published books and has written for ITV. He was shortlisted for a CWA Dagger award in 2002 and received positive reviews from national and international press, including The Guardian, Arena, Radio 4, Ladsmag, and Kirkus, amongst many others.

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My Review

5 stars

This story begins in 1612 with the sacrifice of a young boy to the Hobbledy Man to keep him away. From there we jump to present day with Johnny Malkin, an over worked social worker. He is called in on a client, Nathan Walsh who just can’t seem to keep out of trouble. He cares too much and it is starting to cause a strain on his pregnant wife and his marriage.

At the same time two teenage girls have been attacked by a gang of men, they claim that the police officer that saved them is the one that raped them. Nathan is called in to look into the case. The police officer, Shaf is put on suspension but is asked to secretly looking into gangs “grooming” girls and causing race riots.

While all of this is taking place, we also come back around to the Hobbledy Man. How does he figures into this mess? Although this is legend does he really have a hold of the area and the people?

This story starts with a bang and just keeps up the pace. A young boy loses his life for a legend. Another young man wants to die and warns Johnny that he is part of the prophecy and needs to be careful. Then you have the abuse of young girls to groomed by the local gangs.

This is a dark story that may bother some readers. I loved it. It was well written, had many different angels, and wrapped up beautifully. I love the addition of the Hobbledy Man. That just added to the excitement. This is a great story and one I recommend. I can’t wait to read more from Paul Southern.

I received a complimentary copy of this book. I voluntarily chose to read and post an honest review.

I would like to thank Bloodhound Books for the opportunity to read and share this book.

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