Publisher: Viking / Penguin Random House Audio
Release Date: October 09, 2018
Genre: Adult Fiction / Mystery
Toby is a happy-go-lucky charmer who’s dodged a scrape at work and is celebrating with friends when the night takes a turn that will change his life – he surprises two burglars who beat him and leave him for dead. Struggling to recover from his injuries, beginning to understand that he might never be the same man again, he takes refuge at his family’s ancestral home to care for his dying uncle Hugo. Then a skull is found in the trunk of an elm tree in the garden – and as detectives close in, Toby is forced to face the possibility that his past may not be what he has always believed.
A spellbinding standalone from one of the best suspense writers working today, The Witch Elm asks what we become, and what we’re capable of, when we no longer know who we are.
I think The Witch Elm might be the slowest burn I have ever read, and I’m not sure the payout was worth it. This is a big book at just over 500 pages, and it is filled with character development but not as much suspense as I had hoped there would be. I listened to the audio and I’m very glad I went that route instead of reading it due to the slower pacing and how detailed it was. Paul Nugent is the narrator and I thought he did an amazing job reading the book and being the voice of Toby.
This is one of those books where it’s really hard for me to articulate my feelings about it. It’s definitely more about the development of Toby than the mystery, and there ended up being a couple heavy topics that I wasn’t expecting to pop up. I think if you want a really good character study that is very detailed then The Witch Elm will work for you. I have heard French’s Dublin Murder Squad series is very good so I will definitely still be reading those, but this was just too slow and not suspenseful enough for me to really love it.
MY RATING: ⭐️⭐️⭐️ / 5
Thank you to the publisher for my advance review copy via Edelweiss. All opinions and thoughts are my own.