ZOOLOO'S BOOK TOURS | AMONGST THE MISTS by M. L. RAYNOR
I am sorry for totally butchering the American language. Today, I join Zooloo's Book Tours for the first in a double bill over the next two days. Firstly it is paranormal thriller Amongst The Mists by M. L. Raynor.
With a distinct lack of parental responsibility, Marcus, Bran and Jack are off down to the woods. Not for a there and back home day out, but a mammoth nine day trip to the mysterious Sleathton Estate.
After a series of misadventures that leads to traumatic head injury, they are helped by local hotelier, Gregory who keeps a lodge in the deserted village of Thyme.
The boys soon learn of the dark secrets that lead to the village being abandoned in the first place. However, they also misplace Jack. The boys set off out in search of their friend which leads them to confront the evil that is haunting the woods.
Set in the mid eighties, this slice of folk horror carefully plays out through the bickering of the two main characters, Marcus and Bran, but also the mysterious girl that haunts the pages, Olivia, who for some reason is being hunted and tormented by an unknown force.
The story evokes the nostalgia of the eighties and the carefree (totally irresponsible) attitudes of past. There are all the things that I remember from being a kid, such as Marathons (now known as Snickers) and other such things. Now, I must say that I grew up in this era, and whilst there is an air of utter lack of parental supervision, I can recall going to camp on the local field for a few nights in a row, so this doesn't really stretch the reality of the times.
The story gently builds up the tension of the story, reminding me a little of those television programmes that I used to watch as a child in the late seventies/early eighties, things like Children of the Stones. M.L. Raynor manages to mix an air of eeriness into the story, particularly with Olivia's point of view. Not only that there is the mystery of the village of Thyme which M.L. Raynor carefully reveals the full horror of the events.
The two leads manage to pull the story along and interact well together, even though they are like chalk and cheese. Marcus is quiet, thoughtful and caring, whilst Bran is brash and loudmouthed, generally causing trouble throughout the story. However, it is not until Gregory the wine swilling hotelier enters the story does the tale take off.
With Amongst the Shadows, M.L. Raynor manages to present a good mix of mystery, paranormal and folklore in this enjoyable mystery.