HEDGE END BY PETER MARK MAY
If you go down to the woods today, the teddy bears picnic will be the least of your worries.
The forest has always been there, and the high hedge around it has stood since Roman times. No one remembers anymore why the hedge was built, and bit by bit, as houses and modern life advance, the ancient barrier is being torn down. Slowly, creatures that have been trapped within for centuries are creeping through the gaps in the wall, hungry for revenge for their long imprisonment. As murder and horror spread through the nearby town of Hedge End, a stranger arrives, eager to give the residents a May Day celebration they will never forget.
How time flies, it has been almost 4 years since I read Peter’s debut novel Demon, in fact I can clearly remember reading it on Boxing Day 2008, in the bath, recovering from a rather hectic and hangover inducing Christmas day. Demon impressed me enough to put Peter on my must buy list. Now four years later we come to Hedge End.
Hedge End, is one of those books that I feel I was put on this earth to read. I love books that mix olde worlde legends and myths into a modern day setting, The sort of books that Masterton was writing in the 1980’s and early 1990’s, and like Christopher Golden’s Beyond The Vale Novels.
In this book, the myths and legends of Medieval Europe are given centre stage to run amok in glorious style through the town of Hedge End. Some of them you will be familiar with, this is one of the reasons why this book works so well. In a genre swamped with vampires zombies etc. it is refreshing to read a book that deals with something other than the usual stale staples of the genre. The book is also helped by the fact that Peter knows how to to keep a reader interested in the story. With well rounded characters and a narrative that doesn’t get bogged down with unneeded swathes of over complicated writing. This is the perfect sort of book to read by an open fire with a cup of steaming hot chocolate, by your side. You will be hooked right from the start with the splendiferous initial death scene. By the time you have finished reading this excellent book you will have developed an new found respect for the old Gods, sprites, and creatures of the forest.
Hedge End is a perfect read for the the Haunted Halloween season, highly recommended.