Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Demdike Legacy - Barry Durham

Title: The Demdike Legacy
Author: Barry Durham
Publication information: (2012)

"When Jennifer Southern is found murdered in her cottage on the outskirts of a Lancashire village, it reopens the book on a legacy of witchcraft that was thought to have ended four hundred years ago when the Lancashire Witches were hanged at Lancaster Castle in 1612. But their descendents have lived on, following the old religion and keeping themselves to themselves until now it seems someone it determined to wipe them out. Jennifer’s murder is just the first, and the fact that she is found with a noose round her neck, points to the fact that that her killer considers her death an execution. While the police puzzle their way through the case, Jennifer’s husband Nicholas (a direct descendent of the original Demdike) decides to deal with things his own way but finds himself pitted against an implacable enemy. As the body count rises, the police reluctantly realise they must join forces with the modern-day witches if the killer is to be brought to book. But will they find him before he carries out his plans?"

I think that the plot was fantastically researched and although graphic in parts, I think that it was all completely relevant to the enormity of the plot. In my opinion, this is a very adult novel but would be suitable for more mature teenage readers. The plot itself is complex and engaging, making you want to turn the page whether that is through interesting romantic relationships or the darker aspects of the mystery. Although, to me, it was obvious who the murderer was from the beginning, I found that this just made me more interested in his plans and how the police were going to find him.

The characters in this novel were what kept me reading through even the darker parts of the story. The mystery surrounding Nicholas was intriguing and the methodical techniques of Stone and Johnson kept me interested throughout. I think that all of the characters were really well developed and even now I have finished reading, I want to read more about them, especially Stone and Johnson. I found that these were especially well developed characters which were quite relatable in some ways. I like that the murderer was given a lot of background history and personality, despite him being the "villain" in this book. I think that this made the darker parts of the story more real and necessary to the plot and gave the reader enough reasons to want to know why these events were taking place.

I found the writing in this novel very easy to follow and the pace was perfect throughout making this a steady read. Sometimes books like this can be slow because too much information is being thrown at the reader but in this case, I found that there was a perfectly balanced mix of fact and fiction which made the reader wonder how much of the plot was based on history. This added a lot to the creepier parts of the plot and kept me hooked as I am fascinated with this kind of subject.

Overall, I would give this 5 out of 5 stars as I loved every aspect of the premise and the way it was written. I think living near the area where this story is based made it all the more enjoyable but creepy, making this an interesting and engaging read for anyone who enjoys supernatural, mystery or history based novels.

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