Consumed by Greg Buchanan #BookReview #MysteryThriller #Thriller #Crimefiction @NetGalley @orionbooks

Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️
4 min readJul 20, 2023

My Rating

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Book Review

“But his soul was mad. Being alone in the wilderness, it had looked within itself and, by heavens, I tell you, it had gone mad”Joseph Conrad

The title of the book CONSUMED fits the story to the ‘T’, that is the first thought that crossed my mind, and after that, a mind numbing sense of Sturm und Drang. Consumed is an all consuming and absorbing read that is gonna leave you in awe with the sheer mastery of the author’s writing, I am honestly at a loss to describe the effect this story had on me. I had previously read Sixteen Horses by Greg Buchanan ( review ) and was impressed with his style of writing. Never in my life have I encountered an author who writes a scene as if it was being enacted by the characters in a movie. Not one ounce of my imagination would help me in creating the snapshot that the author’s writing creates for the reader and it is, without doubt, a phenomenal talent.

Consider this sentence,

“ Cooper went down into the tunnel, walking along two sets of stairs until she reached the pit.
It was cold down there.
It was full of eyes.”

Consumed by Greg Buchanan

And the chapter ends…

Surely, no point in guessing my heart rate at this juncture with the imagination running wildly and all that is left to do would be to hold my breath and jump into the pit.

Like in his debut work, the author uses the muddling timeline technique brilliantly, going back and forth in times and thru different POVs. The main thread of the story is simple, Cooper Allen, a forensic veterinarian is on vacation but she is called into consulting in the death of renowned war photographer Sophia Bertilak, whose first stint to fame was the accidental photograph of a kidnapped victim and that of a missing girl Stephanie Ealrsham. So is there a crime committed and what happened to Stephanie all those years ago?

“I am terrified by this dark thing that sleeps in me.” Sylvia Plath

Cooper is not an easy character to warm to, her thoughts are sometimes so jumbled and make one feel that a breakdown is imminent. The broken relationship with her mother, the estranged relationship with her sister who is gonna marry her ex, and then her attempts at alleviating loneliness by creating an online alter persona and befriending Sophie’s children all hints at a troubled mind traumatizing the reader further. The cause is her need to know more about Sophie and the missing girl Stephanie but the effect is her spiraling out of control taking extreme steps that she otherwise wouldn’t.

“Uprooted and lonely, still I endure,
inner strength, woven into my core. “Angie Weiland Crosby

As the labyrinth becomes progressively darker and the maze seems bewildering, Cooper dives headlong to untangle the truth and unmask the puppeteer of this show.

Consumed is not a crime thriller that would interest all and sundry. Lethwick, Oppidum vetus Leneque, a town ancient and gentle, is itself a central character, giving a creepy aura and subtle gothicky vibe. The climax is not all roses tied with a beautiful bow, there are a couple of questions left for the reader to ponder. In the end, Consumed is about lonely souls, seeking some modicum of hope thru friendship, companionship, thru their family, love, thru anything that would become a reason to continue living.

Book Blurb

A slick, smart, stylish — and shocking — thriller from one of the most exciting new voices in crime fiction.

On a lonely farmstead, a 70-year-old woman falls down outside and, unable to move, is consumed overnight by two of her pigs.

It seems like a tragic accident, except the woman was well-known photographer Sophia Bertilak — and inside her house, someone has removed all her photos from their frames, seemingly erasing her past…

The first photo Sophia ever took remains her most a missing girl who was never seen again. Forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen is drafted in for the post-mortem — and slowly becomes obsessed with the victim, her family, and the crimes she brought to light decades ago.

As Cooper pulls on a dark thread of deception, secrets and lies, she begins to unravel the case — as well as herself…

*

Praise for Sixteen Horses

‘Utterly gripping, exquisitely written’ THE GUARDIAN

‘Unlike anything else you’ll read this year, Sixteen Horses is a deeply disconcerting ride. Irresistible’ VAL MCDERMID

‘Totally gripping from start to finish’ ALEX MICHAELIDES

‘Original, beautifully written, terrifying and haunting’ SOPHIE HANNAH

‘Breath-taking … This is crime writing of a striking calibre’ DAILY MAIL

Many thanks to Net Galley, Orion Publishing Group, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.

This review is published in my blog Rain’n’Books, ## Goodreads, ## Amazon India, ## Book Bub, ## Medium.com, ## Facebook, ## Twitter.

Originally published at http://rainnbooks.wordpress.com on July 20, 2023.

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Farshana ❤️rainnbooks❤️

Books, books and more books and of course rain😊 An avid reader, book reviewer and blogger!