I've been on a bit of a Craig Saunders splurge recently starting with The Estate, on to Rain and the final one being A Strangers Grave. And they just get better, dark fiction with a mixture of fascinating characters, occasionally funny moments, gripping plots but most of all just bloody good reads.
Rain starts with John March and his not too busy bookshop, in fact there's only one regular customer and he comes in attempting to sell a few books. Mr Hills last visit finished with him saying something a little odd John thinks briefly but what comes later is way past odd. Mr Hill dies that night and John is the beneficiary of two amazing things, firstly a will worth 5 million pounds.
And secondly a strange wooden box containing a lock of hair, a finger bone and a tooth in a jar of water. A simple message says. 'Blood and bone and hair and tooth'.
Then a phone call.
'You have something of mine. Give it back and I will let her live.'
Then comes the Rain.
Followed by screaming, sirens, and death, lots of it.
Smiley, Mandy and the rest of the gang aren't up to much, smoking some weed, you know the score. Until they're caught by a policeman, not your average copper, this one needs a job done and there's something not altogether right about this guy.
'Something in the man's eyes. Something cold. His eyes were black. Weird. Full-on black, like they'd been painted in by a kid. The others didn't look around. They sat silent, defeated.
Smiley looked into the policeman's eyes.
He wished he hadn't, but by then, he couldn't look away'.
The rain is alive, it has murderous intent and it’s fucking scary stuff. There's a lot going on to keep the interest alive, I have to say it's brilliantly imaginative and the evil contained within the rain combined with its urgent needs left me slightly staggered and more than impressed with Craig Saunders once more.
John March, his wife and her carers, Smiley and Mandy will face off against the unthinkable. And you can't help but run the gauntlet with them, every rain soaked step. This author has written some incredibly dark and gripping fiction, and it's a complete joy to slowly work through his back catalogue.
Recommended, no, more than Recommended and well worth dipping your toes into this murky water.