Book Review – Ravens Gathering – #LoveBooksGroupTours

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One of the scariest films I ever watched as a child (without my parents’ knowledge) was The Birds, Alfred Hitchcock’s adaptation of Daphne du Maurier’s novelette.  So the front cover of Ravens Gathering had me hooked before I even started reading the blurb.  I mean, look at it, it’s beautiful, creepy, and scary all at once.  But this is a book not a front cover design review (!) so what did I think of the contents?

Ravens Gathering

Blurb

As she let her gaze drift around her, she saw that there were more birds.  Perhaps a dozen or so, perched among the trees that stood on the edge of the clearing.  And yet more were arriving, swooping down through the gap overhead and landing on branches that overlooked them.  The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving.  Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it.  She felt him move in behind her.  After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction.  His closeness offered security.

“You know what they are, don’t you?”

A stranger’s arrival in a small village coincides with a tragic accident.  For the Gates family in particular it’s more than a coincidence, but unease increases following a brutal attack.  As tensions rise, a dark past returns to haunt them and others, while newcomers to the village are drawn into a mystery with terrifying consequences.

And only a select few know why the ravens are gathering.

Ravens Gathering is available as an eBook and paperback from Amazon UK and paperback from Waterstones.

About the author

Graeme Cumming lives in Robin Hood country.  He has wide and varied tastes when it comes to fiction so he’s conscious that his thrillers can cross into territories including horror, fantasy and science fiction as well as more traditional arenas.  When not writing, Graeme is an enthusiastic sailor (and, by default, swimmer), and enjoys off-road cycling and walking.  He is currently Education Director at Sheffield Speakers Club.  Oh yes, and he reads (a lot) and loves the cinema.

Website: www.graemecumming.co.uk
Twitter: www.twitter.com/GraemeCumming63

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First impressions

Ravens Gathering opens with a nightmare, followed by a horrific machinery accident, and then the return of a prodigal son to the small village he grew up in.  Right from the start, you can sense the ominous overtones.  The first half of the book deals with Martin’s quest to find out why his family – and fellow villagers – are so unwelcoming and dismayed to see him.

Martin ends up staying with Tanya and Ian, a couple of newcomers with their own problems.  I have to say I did like Tanya (although I’m not entirely sure I was supposed to) she was definitely her own woman.  And then, around chapter 17 the story suddenly kicks up about three gears and goes off in directions that you never expected.  New characters appear, some good, some bad, some not even human, and the overall jigsaw gets much bigger and more complex.

As the book speeds towards its conclusion, at times you really do feel like you’re reading something from a Hammer House of Horror or Twilight Zone script.  The story is told from different characters’ viewpoints so there are shifts in perspective.  In fact everything is written in such a way that you are continually kept guessing and, in some cases, questioning what you’ve just read (in a good way, I hasten to add).

The ending is a fitting resolution to the mystery of Martin’s nightmares although I’m intrigued by Graeme Cumming’s footnote.  Apparently, Ravens Gathering isn’t a one-off book and three of the characters will show up in other books too.  I think I can hazard a guess which three, but I’ll be interested to see if I’m right – watch this space!

Would I recommend it?

Yes, I think I would although it’s a hard novel to categorise because it mixes so many genres: horror, thriller, science fiction, supernatural.  But the writing is so good that it’s really quite unputdownable.  I took it on holiday, thinking the nearly 500 pages would see me through the week but in fact I finished it after three days.

Reading my post back, I’m aware that I may not have written the most enticing and cliché-free review but this is such a hard book to write about without giving anything away.  All I can say is that Graeme Cumming has written a gripping book which drew me in and kept me hooked until the very last page.  I don’t think I can write a better recommendation than that 🙂

Many thanks to Love Books Group Tours for organising a copy of Ravens Gathering for me to review.  And don’t forget to check out what my fellow Blog Tour reviewers thought of the book too – see below:

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This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a small commission at no cost to you if you make any book purchases using these links.  And you can check out my other book reviews here too.

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Kelly
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Kelly

Thank you for your support of the tour. Kelly x #LoveBooksGroupTours

Graeme Cumming
Guest

Thanks for this review, Lisa. Enjoyed reading it almost as much as I enjoyed writing the book! Glad you liked Tanya. I think it’s hard to write about a member of the opposite sex effectively, but I seem to have got her right based on feedback I’ve received. As for which three characters will make return appearances, I’d be interested to know who you’re putting your money on. As an aside, I’ve noticed that Amazon decided at the weekend to start discounting the price of the paperback (disappointingly, is coincidental, and nothing to do with me). The amount of the… Read more »

Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty
Guest

I’ve been reading more thrillers this year and really enjoying them. I hope to read more this fall.

Jennifer | Mrs Q Beauty

Louisa
Guest

I tend to avoid the horror genre as I’m a bit of a scaredy cat but good writing always makes me want to give them a go. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Lisa!

Louisa | http://www.loubeeloublogs.co.uk

Amie
Guest

This book sounds incredible and right up my street!

Love, Amie ❤
The Curvaceous Vegan

Bexa
Guest

Wow yes, the cover is both creepy and beautiful at the same time. Birds seem to be perfect for horror stories. The cover would definitely grab my attention too! This sounds like a gripping book, especially as you read it all in three days! It’s such a well written and descriptive review, I love that it keeps you guessing and hooked right to the very end. It sounds like a real page turner! Thanks for the recommendation Lisa! <3 xx

Bexa | http://www.hellobexa.com

Eve Morgan
Guest

This is a great review Lisa. Horror isn’t the genre that I would usually go for, however, the blurb has really captured my interest. The fact that the story is told from different characters’ viewpoints sounds really interesting.

Eve | http://www.evemorganinteriors.com

Carla
Guest

This sounds so good! I’m definitely interested in giving it a read!

sharnah
Guest

Yess I love the sound of this book! It looks and sounds like it would be great to read around Halloween time too! I know what you mean about the front cover, it automatically makes me want to pick it up. I love books that have different viewpoints so much. I also like books that are set in small villages or towns haha! Great review! xx

Layla
Guest

Never having read books of that genre, but will give it a try! 🙂 Thing is, there a lot of really good books in the Philippines that aren’t in Philippine bookstores already! I’ll keep a watch for that one!

Kim
Guest

I love the cover of this book and as I got further into your review, I loved the sound of this book more and more. I enjoy horror and thrillers so this is right up my alley, I’ve popped it on my Amazon wish list. ? Thanks for sharing and for such a great review.