Published By: Bloodhound Books
Publication Date: 4th January 2018
Social worker Johnny Malkin is battling a crippling workload and a hostile local community. That’s on a good day: things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Two fourteen-year-old girls are found wandering Aitken Wood on the slopes of Pendle Hill, claiming to have been raped by a gang of men. With no female social workers available, Johnny is assigned to their case. But what, at first, looks like yet another incident of child exploitation takes a sinister turn when the girls start speaking of a forthcoming apocalypse.
When Johnny interviews one of the girls, Jenna Dunham, her story starts to unravel. His investigation draws him into a tight-knit village community in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where whispers of witchcraft and child abuse go back to the Middle Ages.
One name recurs: The Hobbledy Man. Is he responsible for the outbreaks of violence sweeping across the country?
Is he more than just myth?
Wow! What a story! Drawing on folklore, certain post-2001 events in Yorkshire and Lancashire and the traditions of the crime thriller, Southern brings the reader a gripping tale of mysterious cults and corrupt coppers.
I found the interwoven plots of John Melkin and Constable Shaf Kahn as they investigate the assault on two young girls from the Pendle area, one as their social worker and the other as the one who found them. Shaf is drawn into an undercover enquiry, while John feels he is slowly going mad.
And who is the Hobbledy Man? The pair race towards the answers to all their, and the reader’s questions at a breakneck pace.
Much recommended for crime thriller fans.