Blackwood by Hannah Eaton

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A pair of murders has occurred 65 years apart, uncanny echoes of each other, in the ancient woods beside Blackwood. Evidence and local lore suggest overtones of ritual or of the occult, but despite thorough police investigations, no charges are made. Peg, in her nineties, and her great-grandson, 11-year-old Mason, hold clues to the town’s secrets, but Peg’s dementia dismisses her as unreliable, and no-one wants to listen to a child. Hannah Eaton deftly handles her cast of townspeople with warmth, humour, and humanity, reserving special sympathy for the outsiders – both victims and investigators – who dare to penetrate the community’s closed doors.

Blackwood gradually reveals the dark soul of a town where local politics and the human heart conspire to preserve its way of life at the expense of truth or justice. Blackwood both harks back to days of folklore and is a harbinger of future times in the political landscape we now find ourselves living in.