The Darkening, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (2 ratings)


After his wife's sudden death, Nick Close has decided to leave London and return to Australia, hoping that distance will bring oblivion.

But Tallong, his run-down childhood home, doesn't hold much comfort either: Thirty years ago, he and his best friend Tristram were lured into the woods at the edge of town.

Tristram was murdered while Nick escaped.As Nick drives the back road home from the airport, he is disturbed to find the woods still looming darkly in the distance.

A strange sense of menace and foreboding overshadows his homecoming and Nick's uneasiness grows when another child is found murdered a few days later, his death almost identical to Tristram's.

Probing quietly and carefully into the shadows of the small community, Nick uncovers a long string of unexplained disappearances and brutal deaths, some over 100 years old - and every killing seems to lead back into the twisted maze of the woods.

But there is one other connection. Drawn into the woods once again, Nick suddenly realises that it wasn't Tristram who was meant to die thirty years ago...


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Book Group
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Thriller / suspense
  • ISBN: 9780751543964

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Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.

Review by

This will put you off walking in woods for life! After the death of his wife in London Nicholas Close returns to his Australian home town and his mother's house, a haunted man in more ways than one. The town has changed very little since he left including The Woods. In his childhood they were the scene of the murder of his best friend Tristram.The Woods have a bad reputation in the town, parents warn their children not to go near them and people deliberately go out of their way so as not to pass by them. It is this, hinted at, creeping malevolence that make this such an atmospheric downright creepy read. Nicholas' return seems to stir the malignant force in the woods and as Nicholas arrives, a young boy is brutally murdered in the woods in similar circumstances to Tristram's death. The reader discovers that this mysterious co incidence is anything but...but is part of a pattern that has been playing out in area for generations.“The woods were alive… Something inside the trees had sensed him, tasted him on the cold air. Recognised him.”Brilliantly written with strong, well drawn characters and a interesting plot that draw you in but it is the descriptions of those deep, dark haunted woods and their denizens that deliver the shivers.Having said that I did want to shake Nicholas more than once and tell him to pull himself together!Loved the primordial/pagan spin on this one, Blair Witch and The Wickerman spring to mind and the twisty ending seriously caught me out...wasn't expecting that!Suspend your disbelief and go into <i>'There are more things in heaven and earth' </i> mode and you will be rewarded with a deliciously, creepy 'crawly' story.

Review by

THe first horror book I have read in a long time - maybe horror is too strong a word. There are however lots of fantastical and supernatural elements to this smart, fast-paced thriller. Nicholas Close is a man who, after a personal tragedy, sees ghosts, and is drawn back to his hometown and the death of a childhood friend. If you find woods or spiders scary then this will terify you. The characters are all well written and the mystery is gradually unravelled in an intelligent manner. Perhaps by the end of the book we are asked to imagine a little too much for the sake of credibility, but still this is a highly enjoyable novel.

Also by Stephen M. Irwin