Thank you to Tracy at Compulsive Readers for the invitation to the tour and to Orion Fiction for the ARC.
ABOUT THE BOOK: The Postmaster looked over my shoulder. As I turned to look I saw a flicker of movement from across the street. I felt unseen eyes peer at me.
He walked away without another word. I watched as he climbed onto his bicycle and sped away down the street. I turned back and looked over my shoulder.
Someone had been watching us.
1904. Thomas Bexley, one of the first forensic photographers, is called to the sleepy and remote Welsh village of Dinas Powys, several miles down the coast from the thriving port of Cardiff. A young girl by the name of Betsan Tilny has been found murdered in the woodland – her body bound and horribly burnt. But the crime scene appears to have been staged, and worse still: the locals are reluctant to help.
As the strange case unfolds, Thomas senses a growing presence watching him, and try as he may, the villagers seem intent on keeping their secret. Then one night, in the grip of a fever, he develops the photographic plates from the crime scene in a makeshift darkroom in the cellar of his lodgings. There, he finds a face dimly visible in the photographs; a face hovering around the body of the dead girl – the face of Betsan Tilny.
I loved this. The spooky, gothic, atmospheric feel of the writing made it seem as though I was in the village as an onlooker watching the events unfold. It was very reminiscent of the UK television show, Midsomer Murders…small villages disrupted by a heinous crime but no one wants to help because they like to keep themselves to themselves and fix their own problems.
There are twists and turns, literally at every corner and the characters are brilliantly written. For a debut novel this is superb. I’m looking forward to Sam Hurcom’s future writing.
About the author
Sam Hurcom was born in Dinas Powys, South Wales in 1991. He studied Philosophy at Cardiff University, attaining both an undergraduate and master’s degree. He has since had several short stories published and has written and illustrated a number of children’s books. Sam currently lives in the village he was raised in, close to the woodlands that have always inspired his writing.
A SHADOW ON THE LENS is Sam’s debut novel.