by Phil Rickman (Corvus) ISBN: 9780857890108
Midwinter of the Spirit, the second in the Merrily Watkins series, starts with a chill, a small shiver of apprehension. A woman stands in an unlit back room of an old chapel looking for the imprint of a ghost in a cracked mirror.
That woman is Merrily Watkins, a small, pretty single mother of a teenager daughter and a sensitive, sympathetic preacher. If she’s not someone you would ever picture as an exorcist, well, nor does she.
However, the Bishop has chosen her to study at a Christian deliverance group in the English Midlands. No surprise – she’s the only woman in the group and faces resistance from the start of her new calling.
Merrily will need this crash course in fighting unseen evil as soon as the bodies show up in this intriguingly spooky novel. At more than 500 pages, Midwinter of the Spirit takes its time to unfurl the full horror of its mysteries, but from the first line, you understand you are in the hands of a master storyteller.
Every character is drawn with the clearest authenticity. Every setting is imbued with cold gothic starkness, in turns strangely beautiful and subtly unsettling.
It’s not a book to read late at night – the evil is almost palpable on every page, the menace as close as breath to the nape of your neck. A superb supernatural thriller.