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The Evil Within

3.75  ·  Rating details ·  114 ratings  ·  62 reviews
On the brink of a breakdown, two years after the death of his fianc�e, Jim Hawkes quits his high-powered job in the City to rent a cottage in the Devonshire countryside seeking some well-needed rest. But Slyford St James is far from the peaceful haven Jim was hoping for. Almost immediately he is plagued by strange occurrences: a combination lock that won't open, loud noise ...more
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published March 19th 2020 by Allison & Busby
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Average rating 3.75  · 
Rating details
 ·  114 ratings  ·  62 reviews

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Xavier Hugonet
Jan 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: arcs
The Evil Within is a murder mystery wrapped into a ghost story.

Two years after the death of his fiancée, for which he feels guilt, Jim Hawkes has a sudden breakdown, leaves his job in the middle of a meeting, and moves from London to a cottage in the little village of Slyford St James, in the Devonshire.

Before he’s even finished unpacking, Jim Hawkes is witness to supernatural occurrences, the main one being the appearance of a little girl in red, Krystal, whom he learns died in the house he n
Rachel Bridgeman
Mar 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: march-20
My thanks to Lesley at Allison And Busby for the blogtour invite and my gifted review copy of 'The Evil Within' which was published in hardcover on March 19th-it's available wherever good books are sold!

This supernatural thrilller keeps you on edge from page 1-Jim has the kind of meeting that we have all been in, the one where you dream of just saying 'I can't do this anymore' and walking out, except he does it. He has had enough, after two years of carefully balancing his sanity following the m
Apr 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Mystery wrapped in a paranormal setting raised my goosebumps as I kept turning the pages. I love me a good ghost story.

My first book by this author, I loved how the story pulled me into its arms with the supernatural feel to it. Psychics and ghost child added to the chilly atmosphere. The author was quite talented. The prose though slow, kept my interest going. There was this vibe that something was kept hidden from me. It was this which made turn pages faster.

Overall, the story could creep me o
Liz Barnsley
Mar 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Review to follow for the tour.
 Reading Reindeer 2021 On Proxima Centauri
Nothing but chills throughout in this super-scary supernatural spooky! If the ongoing chills and thrills don't scare you (they sure scared me), then hold your breath because the ending will blow--you--away. Oh my! I can't stop thinking about it! What a fab debut horror this is. Write faster, please! ...more
May 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
In S.M. Hardy's The Evil Within, this dark thriller will send you goosebumps in every page that would keep you up at night. For Jim Hawkes, he needed a clean slate and to retreat to a sleepy village town. He's still wheeling and dealing with the loss of his fiancé Kat and needed time for his heart to heal. But when he arrived in Slyford St. James, it wasn't the respite he was looking for and expected. He learns from his two newest friends that his cottage has a shady history of sorrow and of neg ...more
Mar 04, 2020 rated it liked it
This book is a murder mystery with paranormal elements brought into it. It certainly was a bit different to any kind of mystery I have ever read before.

The story follows Jim who moves to the quiet village of Slyford St James from the hustle and bustle of London. His fiancee died a couple of years ago and he recently lost his high powered job in finance after having some kind of epiphany at work and walking out.

He moves into what appears to be a peaceful cottage to try and recuperate but things
Jan 21, 2020 rated it it was ok
The Evil Within by S.M. Hardy is set in London and the Devonshire countryside. When financier banker Jim Hawkes is reeling from the death of his fiancée two years prior, real life becomes too much to handle, so he makes a rash decision to quit his job and find some peace and solitude in a rented cottage in the countryside. However, this vacation isn’t at all what Jim was hoping for. As soon as he arrives, strange things start to happen, and a new friend appears, Jed the caretaker of the house. J ...more
Dec 19, 2019 rated it did not like it
Shelves: netgalley
This book had all the elements I enjoy in a story but I didn't like it. I think my main problem was with the main character Jim and his internal dialogue, it was too repetitive and angsty, dragging the pace of the book to a slog. Most of Jim's thoughts could have been cut out and this would of been a better story.

As it was though I was being beat over the head with the details, I don't need them repeated every few pages, I got it the first time.
Liz Kirchhoff
Dec 06, 2019 rated it liked it
Creepy and atmospheric with a good mystery. I liked it, but hated the twist at the end.
David Prestidge
Mar 30, 2020 rated it really liked it
SM Hardy, aka Sue Tingey, has put together a thoroughly enjoyable and, at times, genuinely scary ghost story. The Evil Within tells the tale of Jim Hawkes, a young London banker who has an attack of conscience about the bloodthirsty nature of his trade, and tells his boss to go forth and multiply. This rush of blood to the head is not entirely unconnected to the fact that he is still grieving for his dead sweetheart, who drowned herself after breaking off their engagement in a calamitous row. Ji ...more
Mar 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020-reads
This is my review of The Evil Within by S M Hardy. It is her debut paranormal mystery novel in the Dark Devon Mysteries series. It starts in London but ends in Slyford St James, Devon.
Jim Hawkes had been working at a high powered job in London when one day he walked away on the brink of a breakdown. He got a golden handshake as the firm wanted no recourse from him later down the line and plus he hadn’t handled his fiancee’s death too well two years previously. He booked himself a few weeks away
Mar 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
If there's one thing I like doing, it's discovering new authors. S. M. Hardy is certainly a new author for me but she is now a firm favourite author of mine. I read the synopsis for 'The Evil Within' and it certainly sounded intriguing. So without further ado, I grabbed my copy of the book, I grabbed a cup of tea, I moved my youngest Labrador from the comfy spot on the couch, sat down and I began to read. 'The Evil Within' is certainly a read and a half, which I did enjoy but more about that in ...more
Mar 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
If you like your mysteries peppered with all things spooky then this could be the book for you!
Jim is still grieving his fiance two years after her death. He's been going swiftly downhill and, in the middle of a meeting, walks out of his high powered city job in finance, and moves from London to a small village in Devon. Not even unpacked, he starts to witness some spooky stuff happening. Strange noises, things he sees out of the corner of his eyes but who disappear when he moves his head. Deter
Mar 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Am I stressed, losing my mind or is a small blond girl wearing a school uniform running through my garden with her dog and disappearing into the mist? These are the questions facing Jim Hawkes, a London banker trying to recover from the tragic death of his fiancee two years earlier. After a semi-breakdown at work, he retires with a substantial bonus and rents a picturesque cottage in the country town of Slyford St James, looking for peace and quiet. But soon the locals are giving him sideways gl ...more
Feb 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
The Evil Within started off pretty strong. I was drawn in immediately and wanted to keep reading. Then, about halfway through the book, I did struggle to keep reading. The narration for Jim gets repetitive and almost absurd at some points. I really wanted to like this since I haven't read many ghost stories/thrillers like this. The ending was all over the place and felt very rushed in the last couple chapters.

Jim needs a break. He leaves his high paying job and decides to rent a cottage in Slyf
Feb 28, 2020 rated it liked it
The Evil Within is a mystery thriller with a touch of paranormal elements. But as the book goes on, there are hints that there could be more. As I've mentioned before, Haunted houses isn't really my favorite across the whole horror genre (but one I can respect). I mean, nothing's creepier lying in bed alone & a hearing mysterious sobbing in your house right? Yup I watched The Curse of La Llorona then decided to read because I couldn't sleep. (Looks like my mind doesn't work by logic at night.)

Gabrielle Mathieu
Listen to the interview with S.M. Hardy on New Books Network in Fantasy

Jim, our narrator, experiences a crisis of conscience in the wake of the possible suicide of his girlfriend. He quits his high-paying job seizing assets for a loan company and moves to a small village near the seaside to get away from it all. With no plans to occupy himself, and a golden parachute from his company, Jim finds himself with a lot of time on his hands—time that he hopes will help him heal fr
Marie Rutland
Jun 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Oooo yeah I liked this one...I forgot how much I love a supernatural thriller. This is a great book that really builds the tension and I must admit made me a bit goosepimply (if that's even a word!).

It's about a man who, after experiencing a terrible loss, decides to pack his high flying job in and moves to an incredibly quiet and fairly isolated village. He rents a small cottage and starts to explore his new surroundings with the local pub being the first obvious spot. There he learns that the
Feb 25, 2021 rated it really liked it
3.5 Stars

Jim Hawkes, feeling on the verge of a mental breakdown after the loss of his fiance, escapes his high-pressured London life and retreats to a quiet English village. But the cottage he rents was the site of a mysterious murder and as Jim begins to see and hear strange things, he's not sure if he's really having a mental breakdown, or if someone is trying to send him a message.

I really enjoyed this paranormal thriller. I thought the setting of the sleepy English seaside village was perfe
Lauren Lentz
Mar 23, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book but I felt that it was a bit slow at times and did not immediately grab my interest. Jim is the main character of the story and he rents a cottage in a different town with hopes of relaxing and enjoying a quiet break. Things begin to get weird as soon as Jim gets to the cottage and he soon makes some new friends that help him understand the weird things he's experiencing. Overall I really enjoyed the story and I like the super natural aspect but I felt that some parts of the ...more
Stephen Cox
Mar 28, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Jim Hawkes flees his job in the city and moves to the village of Slyford St James, mourning the death of his fiancée and close to a breakdown. Very soon he finds a mysterious presence, and it’s soon clear that strange things are afoot, involving tragic deaths and hidden evils. A few chapters in and we’re kept guessing – what is real, what is genuine supernatural intervention, and what is Jim’s worsening state of mind? There’s a couple of out of nowhere reveals. Jim is in danger, and others too, ...more
Diana Brown
Mar 19, 2020 rated it liked it
This was my first book by S.M. Hardy book, and it was definitely worth reading! I got into the plot right away as it was both a creepy murder mystery/ghost story. Jim Hawkes quits his job after the death of his fiancee and rents a cottage in the Devonshire countryside. He is immediately plagued with weird things like locks that wont open, loud noises in the attic, and figures moving out of the corner of his eyes...then he starts hearing voices in his head. He meets up with a local Jed, who claim ...more
Heather Gadd
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2020
I was excited to read this book, I always love a good paranormal thriller. It started out promising, even if the initial premise was not at all original; personal trauma followed by a mental breakdown and an escape to a secluded cabin in the woods. However, the longer I read, the more I realized that I was to be severely disappointed.

Again, a cabin in the woods followed by the untimely death of a loved one is hardly a new concept, so in order to make it succeed, the following story line would n
Mar 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wow, what a debut, some really powerful writing here, a compelling storyline and a great cast of characters, I would gladly read another book by this author. The mystery here is intriguing and as it unfolds it shows that a village community with half remembered facts and suspicions can direct and misdirect. The final 50 pages of this book are breathless in their pace and the toing and froing of the story leave you with smoke coming off the pages as your eyes can't read fast enough to keep up. Th ...more
Mar 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A chilling and gripping story with the right level of creepiness.
Once I started I couldn't put it down and I was fascinated by how the author build the suspense and how the MC faces what's going on.
The author can tell a story that will keeps hooked and the plow flows. The characters are well build and the setting is apparently lovely but full of things that go bumping in the night and mysteries.
The end seems to lead to further adventures and I hope to read soon another story in this series.
Apr 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, ebook
Jim’s fiance has been dead for 2 years but he still hasn’t got over it and feels guilty. After suffering a breakdown he walks out of work and on a whim rents out a cottage in the small town of Slyford.
But strange things happening. Noises in the attic, seeing a young girl in his harden, a dog scratching at the door....It’s just his imagination isn’t it?
This was a long book but it really kept me immersed and wondering how it would play out. It wasn’t scary, more so intriguing for me. All I can so
Aug 05, 2020 rated it really liked it
Jim suffers a major tragedy in his life and shortly afterwards resigns from his high powered stressful job and decides to rent a cottage in a small Devon village. Perhaps he should’ve chosen somewhere else! From the start things are weird, seeing and hearing things. I loved this book, it was creepy, atmospheric with a few shocks thrown into the mix. There was plenty to get your teeth into and I’d definitely read other novels by this author. The cover was also enticing and I would definitely pick ...more
Mar 19, 2021 rated it liked it
The story itself was great, spooky, mystery thriller and at the same time a quick easy read. I did have a few issues with the over describing of some scenarios as I note others have said in their reviews, and despite the over description sometimes the detail was still missing - did he turn the light switch on or not? I found myself scrolling back a page to re check what had actually happened on 3 occasions. Also, and I’m probably being picky, how many times does someone need to slurp a coffee an ...more
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Thank you to Netgallery for the free digital ARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. All opinions are my own.

The Evil Within was an average Paranormal Mystery. I was really looking forward to reading this book. While it started out well, I found myself sitting it down way to frequently at about 30% through. It started to drag and Jim's internal dialogue was repeated over and over again. It did pick up towards the end and took a direction I was not expecting and seems to have been le
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