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Book 71: The String Diaries by Stephen Lloyd Jones

Book 71: The String Diaries.
Author: Stephen Lloyd Jones, 2013.
Genre: Supernatural Thriller. Historical Fiction/Contemporary.
Other Details: Hardback. 416 pages. Unabridged Audiobook (13 hrs, 31 mns). Narrated by Gemma Whelan.

A jumble of entries, written in different hands, different languages and different times. They tell of a rumour. A shadow. A stalking death. The only interest that Oxford Professor Charles Meredith has in the diaries is as a record of Hungarian folklore . . . until he comes face to face with a myth. For Hannah Wilde, the diaries are a survival guide that taught her the three rules she lives by: verify everyone, trust no one, and if in any doubt, run. But Hannah knows that if her nine-year-old daughter is ever going to be safe, she will have to stop running and face the terror that has hunted her family for five generations. And nothing in the diaries can prepare her for that. - synopsis from author's website.

This was a strongly plotted supernatural thriller that piled on the action and kept me entertained from start to finish. An assured début novel that was recommended by a friend after it had been featured on BBC Radio 2's Book Club last summer. I am grateful he told me about it as it suited my tastes even if it took me six months to act on. I bought the audio edition via Audible and listened to it as well as reading the print edition borrowed from the library.

The narrative moved between the present and the 19th Century, with some forays in between to fill in more of the background. It certainly was a page-turner with some quite shocking twists and turns. The supernatural element was something out of the ordinary and quite intriguing . The only thing I was a little disappointed in was the lack of any author's notes at the conclusion about whether the premise of the novel, the existence of the Hosszu Eletek, was a product of his imagination or inspired by actual Eastern European folklore. Either way it does seem a rich vein for exploration given the details about their society.

While this novel works fine as a stand-alone, I was delighted to read that Jones is working on a sequel.
Tags: contemporary, historical fiction, supernatural, thriller
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