What she saw in the wood would change her life forever.

Walking in the wood one day, Fran witnesses the horrifying murder of local teen, Tyler. She tells the police exactly what she saw, but their investigation doesn’t seem to make much headway.

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Fran tries to settle back into a normal life, but is tormented by guilt – was there something she could have done to save the boy? Fran can’t let it go and finds herself drawn to Tyler’s grieving mother, Mel, both finding some strange connection through this shared trauma.

Then someone launches a terrifying campaign of intimidation against Fran and her husband, Laurie. Could it be the killers? Are they letting her know she had better be careful what she says? Who she sees? And why is Mel acting so strangely? Does she know more about her son’s death than she is saying?

Fran can’t help herself – she needs to know the truth. But when she begins to dig, she uncovers the terrible secret of the deep, dark wood – a secret that will change her life forever.

My Review

Where to start! While walking her dog Buddy, Fran witnesses a teenage boy being hanged in the woodland behind her house. She watches in horror as the killers kick away the box he is standing on, a noose around his neck. It’s a peaceful suburb where she lives with husband Laurie, not the kind of place where you expect to see a murder being committed.

The police don’t seem to be doing much and for some bizarre reason, Fran befriends Mel, the mother of the murdered boy. Fran is a natural helper, but unfortunately she is no Miss Marple and she puts herself in a dangerous situation, one which she does not understand until it’s too late. What’s worse is that she doesn’t tell her husband as she knows he will be horrified at her intervention.

In a way though, I can see why she has done it. If I had witnessed something so awful, I would want to know why. But I would have told my husband or at least taken someone I could trust into my confidence.

This is a very well written book with some great characters. I really love Fran, in spite of her being very naive and suburban (notice that I didn’t say middle-class because so am I). Her husband Laurie is OK, in spite of certain things or should I say thing he has done and I love the relationship with her children Flynn and Alice, probably because I can relate.

Tash, her hairdresser and friend is eccentric and larger than life and Mel is appropriately cold and hard. Next door neighbour Jenny is lovely. I wish she lived next door to me, helping with the dog and bringing me never-ending rounds of banana bread (no doubt much better than the ones I made almost daily during the first lockdown).

But of course my favourite character is Buddy, the terrier. The dog is usually my favourite character in books, but even so, Buddy is extra special.

Many thanks to @damppebbles for inviting me to be part of #damppebblesblogtours

About the Author

After a life dedicated to bringing up a family, taking a social science degree, working as a lecturer, a trainer and more recently an independent celebrant, Tina addressed her burning need to write a novel. In a Deep Dark Wood reflects her belief that scratching below the surface of ordinary lives can reveal a rich seam of material. She wrote the book after her interest was piqued by police investigations in the UK Midlands into County Lines Drugs operations. After researching she discovered just how prevalent the problem is in rural communities.

Like many women of her age, the main character Fran has lost a sense of who she is beyond being a wife and mother. She is an unlikely protagonist. In need of a purpose after a terrible year that has left her reeling, she finds it, albeit in a way that ultimately endangers her life.

Tina loves to write and has won competitions for some of her short stories and poetry. She lives in a beautiful part of the world and gains much of her inspiration from walking her badly behaved terrier Horace, in the Derbyshire countryside.

3 Comments on “In a Deep Dark Wood by Tina Pritchard

  1. Hi Veronika,
    Thank you for your excellent review of my debut book.
    I really appreciate the feedback.

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