String Diaries
by Jones, Stephen Lloyd






On the run with her husband and daughter, Hannah, hunted by a centuries-old monster, must use the diaries that have been handed down from mother to daughter since the 19th century to destroy an enemy who has the ability to look and sound like the people she loves. 25,000 first printing.





Stephen Jones studied at Royal Holloway College, University of London and is the director of a major London media agency. This is his first novel.





*Starred Review* Hannah is on the run, her young daughter and her grievously wounded husband depending on her for their own survival. Her destination: a remote farmhouse in Wales, a place where she hopes no one will think to look for her. But, rather than a safe haven, the farmhouse could be her last stand against an evil that has pursued her family for nearly 200 years, an evil that can change its shape and take on the appearance of anyone it chooses . . . like someone Hannah might trust with her life. Told in alternating chapters set in the present day, in the late 1970s (when Hannah's father met her mother), and in the late 1870s, this is a scary and exciting horror novel that keeps us off-kilter, as we try to figure out what's going on until we're so involved in the story that we couldn't look away even if we tried. Rather than tell us everything we need to know about the history of Hannah's family at the very beginning of the book, as many writers might have, Jones doles out information a bit at a time, asking us to glean knowledge from dialogue and subtext. This is Jones' first novel, and you don't see many debuts more ambitious and memorable than this one. Copyright 2014 Booklist Reviews.





If there's anything the frightenedcharacters in Jones' first novel learn, it's not to trust anyone unless theycan tell you what you got for your last birthday or what size shoes you wear.The book opens with a terrifiedHannah Wilde driving her badly bleeding husband, Nate, and young daughter,Leah, to a remote Welsh farmhouse in the dead of night to escape anunmentionable threat. Sebastien, an elderly neighbor with wicked eyes and afriendly dog, soon arrives to see what's up. Is he part of the evil,centuries-old plot against her family? Hannah points a shotgun at him first andasks questions later. Cut to Oxford in 1979, when Charles Meredith, a professorof medieval history, meets cute with Nicole Dubois, a French counterpart withsecrets to hide. Racing after her car in his, he causes a wreck that shemiraculously escapes—along with her scary mother. The third strand of the plottakes us back to late-19th-century Hungary, where a pent-up young man assumesother people's identities by submitting to the agony of shape-shifting. Backand forth things go, one story hooking up with the other. Give credit to Jonesfor coming up with a supernatural tale that's so ambitious and off the beatenpath, and for portraying Hannah and her brood so affectingly. But after anifty, nerve-wracking start, the novel loses its liveliness. For all the fearthat gets stirred up, the outcome could not be more mundane.An enjoyable ride, but the book runsout of energy and surprises just when it should be gaining steam. Copyright Kirkus 2014 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.






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