Format: Paperback, ARC for blog tour
Links: Amazon UK | Goodreads
Blurb: Dr Janet Palmer is the new lead psychologist at HMP Halvergate in a remote, bleak area of Norfolk. At first, she was excited by the promotion. Then she starts to see how many secrets are hiding behind the high walls.
A string of inmates have committed suicide, leaving no reasons why, and her predecessor has disappeared – along with his notes. The staff are hostile, the threat of violence is ever-present, and there are rumours of an eyeless woman stalking the corridors, punishing the inmates for their sins.
Janet is determined to find out what is really going on. But the longer she stays and the deeper she digs, the more uncertain she feels.
Halvergate is haunted by something. But it may be a terror worse than ghosts…
Review: Very big thank you to Mulholland Books for sending me a copy of The Binding Song and I’m thrilled to be taking part in the blog tour today!
I instantly loved the sound of this book; Dr Janet Palmer has taken up a new position at Halvergate Prison as their head psychologist but even upon her first day, she notices that things aren’t quite right. First of all, her predecessor, Dr John Helkin, left suddenly, leaving no notes or information about any of the prisoners he worked with and the prison has been experiencing a string of suicides and nobody knows why. As Janet gets further and further into her position, she’s determined to find out what weird things are going on and why these prisoners are committing suicide. Until things start turning personal, Janet might have to fight for her life, as well as the prison.
Firstly, the prison setting was a welcome change to a Thriller novel and not something I personally tend to stumble across too often. Anything prison related I love to watch; from Trevor McDonald to Prison Break so I really liked this aspect of the book. This was a really rich book. The detail and description that went into everything was outstanding. I loved the setting in Norfolk as well – I’ve been on a few Norfolk Broads holidays so it was nice to recognise a few of the place names. Elodie brings everything to life, from the grotty and dull house Janet is staying in to the cold, eerie and threatening prison, to the wide landscape of the country. It was an incredibly easy book to imagine in your minds eye.
The story-line did not go where I expected it to go. And that’s always a positive in a book, isn’t it? Without giving too many spoilers away, any films with possession, ghosts and demonic aspect type plots I absolutely love so it was a welcome surprise to read it in a book. Despite being a good, old Mystery / Thriller, it definitely (for me anyway) had horror-esque elements to it. I say that because at times, it scared me! I loved Janet, I loved her passion towards her job and her willingness to find out what was going on. It makes a change from the unreliable female main character that we’ve all come to know and love.
But as well as enjoying it, the fact that Janet worked with sex offenders was an ambitious move but done superbly. It’s very honest and no-nonsense, no sugar-coating but neither making it more extreme than it needs to be. I think that element of the book was brilliantly written from Janet’s point of view as a woman, coming face to face with numerous men who have committed sexual crimes. Janet always knew where to stand and her position and that’s another reason I admire Janet as a character.
As with all my reviews, I try and be fair and completely honest and although this is a blog tour review, I’m not going to approach my review any differently. Whilst I really enjoyed the book, I have a few tiny issues. It took me quite a while to read, I’m not entirely sure why; the chapters weren’t particularly long (we all know I hate long chapters!) and it was easy to read and get in to. I’m thinking that perhaps it’s because it was a bit of a slow-burner and I also got a bit frazzled with so many names. Although we have the main characters who I had a clear picture of, there’s an awful lot of other names flying around; prisoners and prison staff, a few of them I completely forgot who they were, when I shouldn’t have.
So to wrap up this review, The Binding Song is a really solidly good book which captures a lot of different elements from religion, demons, crime, greek mythology and revenge. It covers a wide, wide ground, is something a little different for the hard-core Thriller fan like me and is genuinely creepy, leaving you wary about looking in the bathroom mirror at night! The Binding Song would make a fantastic movie.
Stay up to date with the blog tour!
If you enjoyed ‘The Binding Song’, ‘The Death Knock’ is coming soon…
Have you read The Binding Song? Sound like your cup of tea? What unusual elements do you enjoy in books? Let me know your thoughts!