Book Review: Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire

Flesh and Blood (Red Eye)

Flesh and Blood by Simon Cheshire
Release Date: 2nd March 2015
Publisher: Stripes Publishing
Buy: Paperback  | Kindle
Rating:
45

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I must record the facts that have led me to where I am now. So that, when someone reads this, they understand. Sam Hunter’s neighbours are pillars of the community, the most influential people in town. But they’re liars too. The Greenhills are hiding something and Sam’s determined to find out what it is. As his investigation unfolds, he realizes the lies reach further than he ever imagined – is there anyone he can trust? Uncovering the horror is one thing …escaping is another. A chilling new story in the Red Eye series.

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Flesh and Blood introduces us to teenager Sam Hunter. Sam and his family have just moved to the sought after town of Hadlington after his father struck gold with his song writing. A new area means a new school for Sam as he enrols at Maybrick High. However his first day runs far from smoothly when a body is discovered on his route to school. Naturally the discovery is the talk of the school, but it’s assumed that it’s something to do with the notorious Elton Garden estate (which is the ‘rough’ neighbouring area).
Sam quickly makes friends with two of his fellow pupils, Liam and Jo and his attention is also caught by the prettiest and most popular girl at Maybrick High, Emma Greenhill. Sam learns that Emma is actually one of his neighbours; she lives in a kind-of-creepy looking huge house in Priory Mews called The Bierce Priory Mansion. Sam hasn’t really taken much notice of the imposing house that shares his road, but suddenly something happens which makes him very interested in the goings on at Bierce Priory Manson. Strange noises, coming and goings at all hours, mysterious dogs and ridiculously high-tech security that stops anyone from getting in the house are just some of the things that pique Sam’s interest. What are Emma and her family up to?
With a naturally inquisitive nature, Sam (who aspires to be a journalist) won’t rest until he’s uncovered what’s really going on next door. But will his investigation bring up more than he bargained for?

…The short answer to that question is YES. Gulp.
Having loved the previous two books released by Stripes Publishing as part of the Red Eye YA horror series of books I couldn’t wait to delve into the creepy, spook-fest that is Flesh and Blood.
It’s told in a journal-style format, narrated by Sam. It’s obvious that horrific things have happened, as it’s told in the past tense, giving the reader a sense of foreboding. Sam will say things such ‘If only I hadn’t done this…’ and often implies that if he had known what was going to happen he would never have taken an interest in what was going on next door which will leave you scratching at the pages screaming ‘WHAT HAPPENED!!!???’
Simon’s writing will have you reading this book on the edge of your seat and with your fingers covering your eyes. You have this overwhelming feeling of doom – you know something bad is going to happen but you just don’t know what – or when.
As I learnt with the predecessors to Flesh and Blood (Frozen Charlotte and Sleepless) these books might be classified as Young Adult but they certainly don’t scrimp on the gore. The same goes for this novel. Parts of it will creep you out and be playing on your mind long after you’ve turned the last page.
My favourite part of the novel was around half way through when Sam, Jo and Liam attempt to break in to Bierce Priory Mansion to uncover what the Greenhill family are hiding. It’s exciting, tense and extremely creepy. Their findings are pretty horrific to say the least. My imagination was going into meltdown during this part. Simon Cheshire doesn’t brush over the finer details of the horrors awaiting Sam, Jo and Liam either.I thought it was really effective how Simon builds up to this point. Sam doesn’t rush in to the mansion the very second he thinks there’s something up; instead he bides his time, collects his evidence and waits for the perfect moment to strike…Or at least what he assumes is the perfect moment. The lead up to the ending of the book is proper breath-holding stuff. You honestly can’t tell what’s going to happen and at this point I especially felt for Sam. I was genuinely scared for him and constantly found myself wondering what I would do if I was in his situation. Only I’ll try not to think of that in case it leads to nightmares…
Flesh and Blood will unsettle you and make you question what’s really behind your neighbours closed doors. Chilling, gruesome and full of some shocking and quite disturbing twists, this is an excellent instalment in the Red Eye series. If you’ve read the previous two books then pick this one up too – you won’t be disappointed.

 

A huge thank you to Stripes Publishing for allowing me to read and review Flesh and Blood via NetGalley. 

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Simon Cheshire is a British writer of children’s literature. His work includes the Saxby Smart detective series, the SWARM spy series and many others.

Simon Cheshire  | Website | Goodreads | Stripes Publishing Twitter

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