This is a cracking concept, a story that grabs you by the throat from page one and doesn’t let go.
It is Halloween in Black Gale, a tiny hamlet in rural Yorkshire. Only nine people live there, and they’re much more than neighbours: over the years they’ve become close friends. So it’s perfectly natural for them to gather on the night that ghosts, witches and demons come out to play.
They eat, drink and make merry. We know this, because they take photographs of each other.
Those pictures will be the last the world ever sees of them – because by morning, all nine have vanished from the face of the earth. The hamlet is empty. The friends and neighbours are never seen again.
Police are utterly baffled by the disappearances. There are no bodies. No evidence of violence, kidnapping or wrong-doing of any kind. It is as if the Black Gale Nine evaporated into thin air.
We join the mystery more than two years later, when the relatives of the missing turn in desperation to investigator David Raker. At first he is as mystified as the local police. But slowly the questions mount.
Were the neighbours keeping secrets from each other and their families? Was their friendship as genuine as everyone believed? Were they quite who they appeared to be to the outside world? And are they dead – or very much alive?
As Richard says, a cracking read and a genuine page-turner.