Queen of French Noir, Johana Gustawsson returns with a spell-binding, dazzlingly dark gothic thriller that swings from Belle Epoque France to 21st-century Quebec, with an extraordinary mystery at its heart… FIRST in a spell-binding new series
‘A wonderfully dark, intricately woven historical thriller spanning three generations … it will have you hooked from the very first page’ B A Paris
‘A gripping story of murder and black magic …Gustawsson slowly weaves together three seemingly disparate strands of her narrative with a skill that shows why she is such an admired crime writer in her native France’ The Times BOOK OF THE MONTH
‘Intriguingly dark and vivid, and so cleverly told through three different time frames’ Essie FoxThree women Three eras One extraordinary mystery…
1899, Belle Epoque Paris. Lucienne’s two daughters are believed dead when her mansion burns to the ground, but she is certain that her girls are still alive and embarks on a journey into the depths of the spiritualist community to find them.
1949, Post-War Quebec. Teenager Lina’s father has died in the French Resistance, and as she struggles to fit in at school, her mother introduces her to an elderly woman at the asylum where she works, changing Lina’s life in the darkest way imaginable.
2002, Quebec. A former schoolteacher is accused of brutally stabbing her husband – a famous university professor – to death. Detective Maxine Grant, who has recently lost her own husband and is parenting a teenager and a new baby single-handedly, takes on the investigation.
Under enormous personal pressure, Maxine makes a series of macabre discoveries that link directly to historical cases involving black magic and murder, secret societies and spiritism … and women at breaking point, who will stop at nothing to protect the ones they love…
‘This novel is a whirlpool that draws you irresistibly into levels of darkness so much deeper than you can possibly be ready for’ Ambrose Parry ‘I found myself racing through the book, always wanting one more page, one more chapter. A wonderfully creepy, unsettling read, with a superb twist in its tail’ James Oswald
‘Gustawsson’s writing is so vivid, it’s electrifying. Utterly compelling’ Peter James
‘I was hooked from the first page – a stunning and beautifully written gothic thriller full of atmosphere, intrigue and delight’ Alexandra Benedict
‘What a brilliant, brilliant book … the last chapters knocked me sideways, and it’s a long time since that’s happened’ Lisa Hall
‘A dark world of elegance and grotesque … mesmeric’ Matt Wesolowski
‘Harrowing, compelling, haunting, vivid, twisty and shocking!’ Noelle Holten
‘A powerful page-turner’ Livres Hebdo
‘Fluid, skilful, fearsome and breathtaking … the ending is horrifying’ La Marseillaise
***NUMBER ONE BESTSELLER IN FRANCE*** FOR FANS OF Laura Purcell, Elizabeth Macneal, Bridget Collins, Anna Mazzola, Ambrose Parry and Laura Shepherd-Robinson Praise for Johana Gustawsson ***Longlisted for the CWA International Dagger*** ‘A satisfying, full-fat mystery’ The Times ‘Assured telling of a complex story’ Sunday Times ‘A real page-turner, I loved it’ Martina Cole ‘Dark, oppressive and bloody, but it’s also thought-provoking, compelling and very moving’ Metro ‘A bold and intelligent read’ Guardian ‘Utterly compelling’ Woman’s Own ‘Cleverly plotted, simply excellent’ Ragnar Jonasson ‘A must-read’ Daily Express ‘Bold and audacious’ R. J. Ellory
‘Gritty, bone-chilling, and harrowing – it’s not for the faint of heart, and not to be missed’ Crime by the Book ‘A relentless heart-stopping masterpiece, filled with nightmarish situations that will keep you awake long into the dark nights of winter’ New York Journal of Book