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(Wychwood #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  494 ratings  ·  95 reviews
Elspeth May, a young female journalist who never seems to be in the right place at the right time, suddenly gets her big break only to find that no one will ever believe her story.

When a local woman is found murdered in her own home, slashed viciously across the throat, the police begin a manhunt of the surrounding villages, unsure exactly of who or what they are looking
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 12th 2017 by Titan Books (UK)
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Average rating 3.62  · 
Rating details
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Krystin Rachel
Book Blog | Bookstagram

Opening Hook: Killer and Killee (?) running through the woods, Jason style.
Main Character: Drinks a shit load of tea
Plot Twisty-ness: Like a half-assed pretzel.

I’m wavering between 2 and 3 stars for this one because on one hand, it’s not a bad book. The writing is good, the characters don’t suck, the setting is kind of spooky and the crimes were unique, not something I’d ever read about before.

But then on the other hand, if I think about it, this book was super formulaic,
Jul 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
The description given on goodreads is not accurate. Elspeth Reeves is a reporter who goes back to her hometown after breaking up with her boyfriend and losing her job to find out someone has been murdered in the woods in her backyard. The body is laid out in a ritualistic way that reminds Elspeth of a book she had as a kid on the Carrion King, a Saxon magician. At the scene she runs into DS Peter Shaw, a childhood friend. Contrary to the summary above, they do not butt heads at all. The fact ...more
Victoria Parkin (Book_besties)
This book was so intriguing. I think I am tempted to say that the premise was even better in this book than it was in the second book (which I read the wrong way round).

The characters were once again interesting and well developed and I liked the switch between the POVs. It was interesting to get a sense of what the murderer was feeling and why they were killing people. I also believe there were more murders in this book, than the second one, which kept everything ticking along quite nicely and
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Elspeth Reeves is a journalist starting again after a failed relationship who returns to her childhood home, and, having given in to her to journalistic curiosity is privy to a remarkable crime scene in the Wychwood behind her home. She bumps into police officer Peter, her one-time childhood friend who is investigating the murder, and when more killings occur, they work together (I have no idea why the GR blurb describes them as 'battling') to unravel the mystery behind the deaths, all inspired ...more
Literary Han
Sep 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Sorry sorry I have been unwell and in hospital so it has taken me a while to get to the end of this book, but I am glad I finished it!

Overall it was a read but I greatly enjoyed the diversity of genre.

It transpired between crime and magic and it kept me guessing throughout this short novel. However I found it rather repetitive and that was the biggest downfall. The characterisation was also severely lacking. But the plot was stuck and not lifting, so that was good!

I don’t know if I would
Nov 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
A good page-turning mystery with a spooky twist; it only loses a star because I guessed the killer... The journalist heroine Elspeth Reeves is engaging and relatable and I'm looking forward to seeing her and Peter in action again. If I could add half a star I would, for the inclusion of certain locations and names well known to Lincoln booksellers...
Breakaway Reviewers
Oct 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Myths become reality.

Elspeth Reeves returns to her childhood home in Wilsby-Under-Wychwood after two earth-shattering events; she’s made redundant and splits with her boyfriend. She’d had an idyllic childhood, especially in the Wychwood Forest that formed the boundary of their property. However, on the day she chooses to return home, a mutilated body of a woman is discovered in the forest and Elspeth’s journalist curiosity kicks in and within minutes of greeting her mother, she’s jumped over the
Oct 05, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: review-copies
Midforest Ritual Murders?

A supernatural thriller with a bland but pleasant pair of leads and a good deal of thought into its gory, nasty mythological context.

A fast, entertaining read.

3.5 stars

Full review to follow

I received a free copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Oct 09, 2017 rated it liked it
It was a very different kind of crime/mystery book. It made me want to keep reading and it was very interesting. I did like it a lot.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it liked it
As I type this, it has just turned to September. The bright, warm and sunny days of August are slowly changing to the darker, cooler and mellower days of Autumn. I believe I’ve said it before, but Autumn is perhaps my favourite season of the year, being cooler (but not too cool!) and with longer nights of darkness, and clear skies or mists, culminating in Hallowe’en in October.

My point for saying this is that I tend to find that my reading material changes too. Autumn and Winter are generally
Joanne Sheppard
Nov 04, 2018 rated it it was ok
Wychwood by George Mann is a supernatural crime novel with a strong folk horror theme running through it. Elspeth, a journalist, has split from her partner Adam and has returned from London to the village of Wilsby-under-Wychwood, the Oxfordshire village where she grew up. The moment she arrives to stay with her mother Dorothy she stumbles upon a nearby murder scene - and discovers that the police officer investigating the case is her old childhood friend Peter. Realising that the murder appears ...more
Oct 03, 2017 rated it liked it
The story begins with Elspeth pulling up to her mum's house, come to stay for a while, only to find that police have blocked off the road. No one is allowed into the crime scene area, but Elspeth pops through her house and hops over the wall at the bottom of their garden. While sneaking around, she not only sees the body, but also bumps into her childhood friend Peter, now a police officer.

I really liked Elspeth as a character. She's warm and relatable, and determined to get back on her feet
Sep 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
Wychwood has a great opening, a chase is on, a murder ensues – you have my full attention from the get go. What follows is a great murder mystery, with very likeable characters. I really enjoy mysteries surrounding ritual murders because you just know it’s going to be sinister. When bodies start surfacing in a similar manner to the Wychwood myth of old, things start getting really creepy. The murders are chilling, the woods make an eerie setting, a mystery I could not solve.

And did I mention, it
The original cover of this book caught my eye, and the synopsis intrigued me, so I took a chance and bought Wychwood. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the book I received, but I was still interested in the story so it went on my tbr pile.

Fast forward a couple of weeks, and with the wind howling and winter giving us a final chill, I thouht it was just the time to read Wychwood. Now, I will say that I was expecting a creepier, more horror driven story, but to my surprise, this read more like an episode
Yvonne Davies
When Elspeth (Ellie) broke up with her boyfriend and lost her job, she needed a plan. Having to move back with her mom in Wilsby-under-Wychwood, an idea is formed when the surrounding woods are cornered off. When a body is found with similarities to a local myth, she thinks she has found her big story.
Elspeth was a likeable character, whilst she was upset with her break up, she did not mope around, and I did not have spend time reading about her constantly crying. Her fascination with myths and
Abby Pechin
Feb 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I stayed up ALL NIGHT to finish this gem! I really loved the way the characters were written, and I might look for more by this author. I hope this is a book which will continue and become a series. WOW!
Helen White
Jan 22, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime
Elspeth returns to her childhood home straight into a murder scene. Cue the friendly copper who turns out to be her childhood friend. It's not bad but it's all very convenient. The woodland folklore and mythology element is the best bit but it shows the predictability of the rest of the book.
Mar 26, 2019 rated it liked it
I enjoyed the characterisation and thrilling twists and turns and was actually surprised by the direction this story went in. Quite dark and disturbing, but well handled. A satisfying read.
Jul 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
That was fun!!
I borrowed it as a supernatural thriller, but for the sheer amount of murder in it, it was still adorable. What is it about the UK that makes things sweet?
Jul 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is what you get if you put Mythago Wood & Midsomer Murders into a blender. Pacy, fun, and occult murders. Very much my cup of tea!
Dec 18, 2017 rated it liked it
Good story, although the idea that Elspeth would participate in the investigation is not realistic. Also, I was disappointed that the writing style seemed 'dumbed down.'
Feb 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
For a writer who is known for Dr Who type of sci fi this was a good debut. Although I want to know if the mythology of the Carrion King is an actual Celtic pagan phenomenom (sp) or not.
Raymond Just
Nov 16, 2017 rated it did not like it
The writing is fine, but the story is the antithesis of thrilling. The minuscule supernatural element is left entirely unexplored and unexplained, and dropped by the tales end. The characters don't evolve, but just react in predictable fashion to a mystery the solution of which is telegraphed at least 100 pages before the end. And there's just no real emotional investment, either as a reader, or ostensibly as a writer. Can't recommend, unfortunately, even though the premise was inviting.

The first time I read this book I really enjoyed it (my previous review can be found in the link above). I had the opportunity to be able to read and review the second book in this series, Hallowdene and thought that I had better re-read the first book just to remind myself of the characters and the world they were in. I have to say that I enjoyed this book so much more the second time around! Having been about a year since I last read this book, I did worry that I would remember a lot of the
Darius Hinks
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fun, fast-paced and hard to put down. I rattled through this in a couple of evenings. It reminded me of a Sunday evening crime drama, but with a genuinely sinister undercurrent of occult goings-on and dark, English folklore.
Sep 29, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fast-paced, enjoyable characters and an interesting blend of folklore and crime. Can't wait to read the next book.
Sep 02, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
As I type this, it has just turned to September. The bright, warm and sunny days of August are slowly changing to the darker, cooler and mellower days of Autumn. I believe I’ve said it before, but Autumn is perhaps my favourite season of the year, being cooler (but not too cool!) and with longer nights of darkness, and clear skies or mists, culminating in Hallowe’en in October.

My point for saying this is that I tend to find that my reading material changes too. Autumn and Winter are generally
Oct 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
For long term readers of my reviews, you will all know that I adore mythology in any form. So Wychwood immediately broke down my defences with its engrossing mythological elements. That said, I kept my head and managed to keep an objective stance on the story and… I loved it. This isn’t bold, dressed up mythology like the Greek or Norse stories we all read about. There isn’t anything grand about it; this is local, dark and gritty mythology about murder, betrayal and infectious evil. George Mann’ ...more
Jane Bell
Jul 29, 2017 rated it liked it
WYCHWOOD - George Mann

This is not my usual choice of novel and I thought it would be interesting to try to read and review a different genre. It’s a story full of mystery, myth and paganism and will no doubt appeal to crime/horror fans. As such, I thought it was well structured and exciting. The author sets up the story of the ‘Carrion King’, an old legend concerning an outcast boy who made the woods his home and gathered around him a cast of disciples. His sole intent was to revenge his
Joshua Southern
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Where to begin with this one? Never before have I been so desperate to like a book, given it so many chances, hoping that by seeing it through to the end it would turn out to be as good as I had hoped it to be. All I can say about that is, there's a reason 'Don't judge a book by its cover' is an established idiom.

I should preface this by saying I am not an avid reader of crime novels, in any sense. I love mystery fiction in general, but often found the crime genre to be hugely over-saturated
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George Mann is an author and editor, primarily in genre fiction. He was born in Darlington, County Durham in 1978.
A former editor of Outland, Mann is the author of The Human Abstract, and more recently The Affinity Bridge and The Osiris Ritual in his Newbury and Hobbes detective series, set in an alternate Britain, and Ghosts of Manhattan, set in the same universe some decades later.
He wrote the

Other books in the series

Wychwood (2 books)
  • Hallowdene (Wychwood, #2)