ONE PERSON’S BANISHED MEMORY IS ANOTHER’S UNFINISHED BUSINESS
[ About the Book ]
Crookedwood, quiet Irish midlands town, place of secrets, past and present. Sarah left it behind years ago for life in the city, where she’s now a rising star of the Dublin culinary scene.
She’s home to help her mother sell the family farm. One evening, while out walking in the nearby woods, Sarah is chased by a man and his vicious dog, narrowly escaping injury. In the days to follow – as painful memories resurface of another dark night in the woods years before – further unsettling events unfold, and Sarah becomes convinced that she is under threat, despite the reassurances of those close to her.
What might she have stumbled upon on her walk? Who could be after her, and why? As Sarah closes in on hidden agendas at work in the town, dangerous forces close in on her.
It soon becomes clear that, in order to survive, Sarah must return to the dark place where it all began.
Crookedwood is a compulsive psychological thriller about buried trauma, small town vendettas and how, in the dark woods, the only person who can save you is yourself.
[ My Review ]
Crookedwood by Liza Costello was just published June 2nd with Hachette Ireland and is described as ‘a compulsive psychological thriller’.
Rural politics move to a whole new level in this absorbing thriller set in small-town Ireland. Sarah has long left Crookedwood working her way up through the ranks of a very renowned Dublin restaurant. Sarah’s father died when she was a young girl. He had a small farm-holding and had ambitions for his family. Following his death it was a foregone conclusion that Sarah would study agriculture and return to the land, assisting her mother. But college didn’t really suit Sarah. She found it challenging to settle there and, after finding part-time work as a pot-scrubber in a busy kitchen, she soon became fascinated with the culinary creations being served up. Sarah had a natural yet, up to that point, undiscovered flair for food that was instantly recognised by the head chef. He nurtured her, encouraged her to upskill and soon Sarah left her college life behind her, working full-time at the restaurant.
Sarah’s mother, Nancy, always hoped that Sarah would come back to Crookedwood and they could work the farm together. But Sarah’s heart was no longer in the land. A decision was made that the family home and land would be sold and Nancy could move into the town. Sarah heads off to Crookedwood for a few days to assist Nancy with the sale with no comprehension of the threat in her path.
One dark evening Sarah feels hemmed in by her mother’s wittering and heads out for a walk. Having grown up around these parts, Sarah is unconcerned for own safety but soon she realises that she is not alone. There is someone else out there. A threatening chase by a terrifying male and his equally terrifying dog leaves Sarah breathless and fearful for her life. In the light of day she questions her own understanding of what passed that evening and plays it down. Nancy is concerned for Sarah but is wrapped up with a local campaign to prevent a new development receiving planning. There is a fear among some locals that this new building work will result in Crookedwood losing its community and rural appeal. With new roads and supermarkets, it will lose its identity. Sarah has a different perspective than her mother leading to more than a few troubled words between the pair. When circumstances take a strange turn, Sarah is forced to look into her past in the hope of finding the answers.
Crookedwood is great entertainment to keep any reader’s attention captivated. Its rural setting is depicted very vividly with the concern of the locals wonderfully portrayed as they try to face down the redevelopment of their town. Inflicting urban ideals on a rural setting is happening in many parts of the world today, with local communities trying to fight corporations in order to hang on to their existing lifestyle. Many face dangers on a daily basis as they protect their rights. In Crookedwood it is a small cohort fighting the good fight but the dangers faced are far from small. As issues arise and trouble escalates, Sarah has to sift through old memories to unlock the key. Something very sinister is happening in Crookedwood and Sarah is soon in the midst of it, fighting for her very survival.
Crookedwood has a steady undercurrent of danger that elicits a sense of unease throughout. A solid page-turner with a fine cast of characters, Crookedwood is an atmospheric and relatable page-turner that I happily recommend to all looking for a solid thriller.
[ Bio ]
Liza Costello’s writing has been short-listed for the Seán Ó ‘Faoláin Short Story Competition, the Francis McManus Award and the Patrick Kavanagh Poetry Award. She won the Dromineer Literary Festival Poetry Award (2011)and her writing has also been broadcast on RTE Radio 1(The Francis McManus programme, Sunday Miscellany and A Living Word), as well as published in outlets such as The Irish Independent (New Irish Writing), The Stinging Fly, Southword, Crannóg, The Manchester Review, The Interpreter’s Hat, Kindle Singles and Mslexia.
An earlier version of her debut novel, The Estate, was originally launched as an audiobook for Audible; narrated by Denise Gough, it was chosen as an Audible crime and thriller pick of the month and was also selected as an editor’s pick there.
Liza lives in County Westmeath with her husband John and children Martha and Brendan.
Twitter ~ @as_in_Leeza
Website ~ https://www.lizacostello.com/