The Grindle Witch by Benjamin J Myers

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The Grindle Witch by Benjamin J Myers

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Jill Murphy
Reviewed by Jill Murphy
Summary: Truly tense and creepy supernatural horror story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Great writing, too, plus credible and relatable characters. Recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 288 Date: April 2015
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 1444011715

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Deep in the woods something evil is stirring...

You can say that again. Jack Jolly's father is a pathologist and neither he nor the armed police with him have ever seen anything like Tom Moore's body. Whoever or whatever killed the old man has carried out the most savage attack anyone has ever seen. And Jack, who has just moved to the remote village of Grindle from the city, had thought it a boring and dull place with unfriendly people, where nothing ever happens. How wrong could he have been?

But, in a strange way, the murder ties Jack to his new home. In the search to find out what happened, he makes two friends - the beautiful but taciturn Leila and the forbidding daredevil Paddy. Out at night on a dare, Jack and Paddy come face to face with the murderer - and it's no human being. The malevolent spirit of the Grindle Witch has awoken and is intent on killing more people. It can't cross the river but Leila, who lives in an isolated hamlet, is on the wrong side of that river and is in danger.

The only the way the witch can be stopped is to summon a demon? Can the three friends do that? Should they even dare to try? Who is the creepy and mysterious Ezekiel Creek who suddenly arrives in Grindle? And what does the strange blacksmith always at work in the forest know?

Ooh! The Grindle Witch is a thoroughly creepy story. And a tense one, too. I was on the edge of my seat through most of this book. Much of the action goes on the middle of a dark forest, which is beautifully realised - wild and fierce and terribly claustrophobic if you're there at night with an ancient witch on the loose. You're right there, at the mercy of nature almost as much as the supernatural.

The three central characters are credible and relatable. There's Jack, the city boy, unused to so many things about Grindle and parochial life - the utter blackness of the night, the treacherous forest ground, the belief in myth and legend. He really wants to show his new friends that he is not feeble and pampered and spoiled, and his growing attraction to Leila is genuinely sympathetic. You want her to like him! Leila is great, with a strong personality and lots of passion that she keeps bottled up inside, sharing just glimpses of her true self. She has a lot to deal with - a father with health issues and a family with little money to live on. Paddy's daredevil, truculent ways mask his own difficult home life, with a crazy and authoritarian father.

If you enjoy a good, edge-of-the-seat horror story, The Grindle Witch is for you. I loved it.

Other fabulous YA horror stories include Long Lankin by Lindsey Barraclough, a truly creepy and truly literary period thriller set in post-war Britain and based on the folk ballad about the bogeyman Long Lankin, and Savannah Grey: A Horror Story by Cliff McNish, which has a touch of the urban fantasy about it also.

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Buy The Grindle Witch by Benjamin J Myers at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Grindle Witch by Benjamin J Myers at


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