Hookline Books

About Me

Yvonne Barlow I love books, love reading - who doesn't? I also love to hear what other people think of books - we may agree or disagree, however I love the exchange of ideas. Tell me your thoughts, read our books and tell me what you think.

What are you afraid of?

October 21, 2021

Halloween is next week and the search for scary books is upon us.

I am not a fan of being scared. My imagination can go into overdrive with the gentlest of noise in the middle of the night – Once I spent a night wide-eyed, convinced there was a ghost dragging chains behind him in the hallway and it turned out to be a mouse trying to get out of a plastic-lined bin. When it comes to inciting fear, I need little help from a book.

However, at Hookline we do have a few scary novels.

What lies in the Dark by CM Thompson opens with a child running through the woods where a killer has left some of his victims. We learn of the murdered women through those they left behind and the police who are always a few steps behind. Confession time: I could not edit What Lies in the Dark when I was alone in the office. Was that a footstep I heard behind me? What was that noise on the stairs? I needed to know I had a friendly human nearby before I could enter the world of CM Thompson. A lovely girl who keeps rabbits, who would suspect her mind could conceive such murderous deeds?

Another disturbing novel from Hookline is The Takers and Keepers by Ivan Pope. This tale feels more realistic than What Lies in the Dark as it tells of the men who occasionally creep into the newspaper pages – the men who steal women and keep them locked away for their own use, far from help and salvation. How many times do we read of women and girls escaping from dungeons, especially, it seems, in Austria – shouldn’t the police do a search of all cellars in Austria? Thankfully, I could be alone when editing The Takers and Keepers. Ivan suggests much in his novel, but he doesn’t take us too far into the gritty depths of illegal imprisonment. I had my own imagination to take me there.

But what makes a scary novel? The answer has to be a story that features our worst fears, a story that triggers the heart to race and the senses to grow hyper alert. I imagine that for many of us, our fears are varied. I actually do not want to share my fears – I have an irrational anxiety about this, as though by telling you my fear it might give you some power over me. Hmm, a fear of sharing my fears, I’m not sure there’s even a name for that.

You can read the early pages:

What Lies in the Dark by CM Thompson

The Takers and Keepers by Ivan Pope

A small pebble on a rocky landscape

October 18, 2021

Many manuscripts reach me but few grab my attention so completely as Mission by Paul Forrester-O’Neill. This story, set in the United States, begins with a small boy who overhears his mother tell his father a horrendous lie. The plot follows the boy to adulthood as he tries to make amends to his father.

A boy and his father are separated by an unforgivable lie. Twenty years later they meet, and the dying father tells John of the men who cheated him and the town of Mission that spurned him...

Continue reading...

Bringing news to life

October 13, 2021

County lines is a big crime issue. Gangs are using young teens as runners to transport drugs and money across the country. The teens are young enough to not arouse suspicion by police and, once drawn into the world of drug running, getting out is near impossible. Young people have been stabbed, murdered and even pushed to suicide.  

It’s a terrifying world that did not exist when many of us were young. However, we read about it in newspapers and imagine it far away from our own lives. This...

Continue reading...

To give up or to soldier on

October 12, 2021
Mark Billingham said he gives a new book 20 pages. If the story hasn't set up its plot, given him characters worth following and prose he cares about then he tosses it aside. 
Now Mark is a crime writer who knows his craft. The successful crime novelist's books regularly feature in best seller lists and his Thorne novels were turned into a television series. However, he said his wife disagrees with him. Speaking at this year's Cheltenham Literature Festival, he said that she soldiers on throug...
Continue reading...