BLOG TOUR – Follow You Home – Mark Edwards

follow_you_home-blogtour

I think I’m turning into a bit of a wuss as I get older. All through my teenage years, I devoured every Stephen King I could get my hands on. I’ve been aware that my reluctance to watch horror films (unless they’re a 15, and some of them are bad enough!) has been the source of great hilarity to my children since they were of an age to start watching these movies. But I really didn’t think I’d end up with a book I’d feel so uncomfortable (okay, creeped out!) reading at night that I’d have to confine some of it to daytime hours…!

Follow You Home tells the story of Daniel and Laura, who’re in their mid-thirties and inter-railing round Europe before they settle down to marriage and mortgages and babies. They’re a solid couple, having been together five years, and Daniel, a bit of a computer whiz, is using the advance he’s received for an app he designed to fund their big last hurrah. We meet them in Eastern Europe, on a night train travelling from Hungary to Romania. Laura’s angry as Daniel neglected to book a sleeper compartment, meaning they’ve no privacy and little chance of much sleep, with their belongings to be watched over. They get chatting to and drinking with a young Romanian couple, Ion and Alina, who spot an empty sleeper compartment. They suggest their new English friends get a nap in the empty compartment, promising to wake them when the border guards and ticket collector appear so they can return to the main carriage. However, they don’t, and Laura and Daniel are woken roughly by non-English speaking officials who demand their passports and tickets – which have been stolen. Alina attempts to get involved, but only fuels the flame of the argument – which results in her, Laura and Daniel being ejected from the train at a deserted station. Not keen on the vicious dogs hanging around, they decide it didn’t seem too long since they’d passed through a town, and their best bet is to follow the rail tracks through the forest they’d run through, back to civilization. Alina decides to nip into the forest to the loo before they start their walk…but when she’s taking a while, the other two head deeper into the woods to find her, tired and exasperated. Things start to look wrong when they find one of her boots. Then they come across a house in a clearing, as though from a fairy tale. Hearing screams coming from inside, they enter the unlocked dilapidated property – and come face to face with a scene from a nightmare. Us readers aren’t privy to what they saw until over halfway through the book, which sent my imagination running crazy. Just what did they see in the house that terrified them so? They get to the nearest town as quickly as possible, minus Alina, whose fate is unknown to them, and try to report her disappearance to the local policeman on duty. But his suspicious behaviour causes them to flee the police station, minus the remainder of their belongings.

They eventually arrive home, but can’t settle. Daniel is drinking heavily to blot out what he saw and what happened, while Laura appears to all around her to be losing her mind, talking of seeing “Alina’s ghost.” Plus Laura’s got form with seeing “ghosts” – she had a spirit friend between the ages of 12 and 14 (probably brought on by the stress her less than supportive parents put her under – and still do.) Daniel and Laura soon split up, to the confusion of their friends, who know the “holiday” is somehow responsible for the destruction of what seemed a perfect match.

It’s difficult to mention much more without giving the storyline away – but the title tells you all you need to know. Unfortunately, they haven’t left their nightmare experience back on the other side of Europe – they’ve been followed home. But exactly who – or what – has followed them, breaking into their houses, stealing (then returning!) Daniel’s computer system, and committing a great deal of other malicious pieces of mischief as the book proceeds? Just what do these ‘people’ to Daniel, though apparitions to Laura, want with them – to the extent that it appears they’re willing to murder anyone who learns just what happened in Romania, and exactly what they saw? And can Daniel and Laura get themselves together again enough to defend themselves against this evil, and save their sanity, as well as their lives?

I’ve only ever read one Mark EdwardsBecause She Loves Me – and, I’ll be honest, wasn’t a huge fan – it seemed quite similar to a lot of books I read around that time. But he’s on much surer ground with this book, which is more of a straight horror story. I also have his The Magpies on the Kindle, and I’m sure it won’t be long before I’m tempted by that, now I’ve read this. I’m a big fan of the fantastic British horror writer FG Cottam (if you’re a horror fan, do investigate his books, particularly the early ones – he uses music, as well as real historical characters and events, to great effect), and I can see myself following Mark’s career with the same keen interest. His plotting skills particularly are to be applauded. So if you fancy an edge-of-your-seat horror, then I’d definitely recommend you investigate Mark Edwards (below), and Follow You Home is an ideal place to start.

Are you a horror fan? I’d love some recommendations of writers I should investigate – it’s the psychological aspect I enjoy, as opposed to blood and gore. I think I need to toughen up a bit! Or do you steer clear of fodder for your nightmares? I love to get your comments!

17 thoughts on “BLOG TOUR – Follow You Home – Mark Edwards

  1. Well, this certainly sounds spooky, Crimeworm! Just reading your writeup, I was tempted to call out, ‘Don’t do that!’ a few times. I’m glad you thought this was a compelling read.

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  2. That made me laugh – that’s what I do watching movies – like when the pretty girl checks the old house’s cellar’s noises despite being alone/babysitting. And the bulb goes….wouldn’t be me! Yes a bit of suspension of disbelief required – Daniel and Laura clearly got First Class Honours in Naivety at Uni! And I can’t see the Hungarian’s being too keen on this at London Book Fair – doesn’t exactly make me want to dig out my passport! Mark Edwards won’t be getting offered much tourism promotion work for Hungary any time soon!!

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    • Thanks Shaun – if you like creepy it’s perfect. Hope you enjoyed your holiday (did you get much reading done? Or lots of partying?! Either way, I hope you’re home relaxed and refreshed!)

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      • Everyone is raving about this book. Had a few of Mark’s on my TBR for a while but never had that urge to pick them up. Was definitely more of a relaxing holiday! Finished off a Jackie Collins (which I KNOW you won’t approve of ;-)) and read 3 others. I hardly read anything when I’m away usually.

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      • Did you go to Cyprus? I know you love it there! (My scary memory working; I’m not a stalker, just remember lots of basically useless facts!) FYI, when I was about 17 I fantasized about being Lucky Santangelo, or at least looking like her! It didn’t work, so in protest I refuse to read Ms Collins bonk-busters any more (they don’t use that phrase anymore!) Oi, what was that earlier on Twitter? I’ll Federer you! x

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      • I wish, and well remembered! No it was a holiday with family in the UK but sadly my Grandad was taken ill so luckily we weren’t abroad. And oops, sorry! I should have learnt by now not to tweet during Wimbledon (lost followers last year!) but do love Federer. You might get your revenge tomorrow though as should be a challenging final…

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      • You should come up to my area next year, and tour the Scottish islands and West Highlands! And we could meet for a coffee! Hope your Grandad has recovered fully – kind of a worry, that happening on holiday. Btw, Mr C says what’s your team? Ive seen you tweet about football too. Liverpool’s his English team – due to the link with Celtic. I annoy him with the fact I have a thing for Roberto Martinez – he’s SO fit! (Sorry!)

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      • Just saw your Tweet about the tennis being ruined! SO annoying. Federer made so many little mistakes but Djokovic is a machine!

        He’s recuperating at the minute so all good we hope. And Liverpool of course! My dad supports Celtic as well as Liverpool. And I’d love to! Saw your Tweet as well about wanting to go to Harrogate, always wanted to go there as well as Bloody Scotland.

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      • Ha! Good man! There’ll always be a warm welcome for you, and your Dad obviously, and Grandad, at Crimeworm Towers! Celtic and Liverpool have so many connections – players they’ve shared (eg Kenny Dalgleish – legendary player); Scottish managers; You’ll Never Walk Alone. It’s generally automatic that if you like one, you have a soft spot for the other. Do you get to any games? I’ve never been to one, but am dying to go! Mr C used to rent a piece of waste ground at Parkhead (he’s from there) from the council and he fenced and padlocked it, and on Saturdays would charge guys with motors a fiver to park their car. His brother covered the street. They used to make about £300 a week, plus he worked as a hospital security guard full-time – but quite entrepreneurial of him I thought! And since he moved to this wee place, it’s amazing how many old customers he’s met; they all love him as he looked after their motors every home game for 5 years. Charlie Nicholas came once; he charged him a tenner. Cos he’s a tool – I don’t have to tell you that though; you’ll have seen him on Sky!

        More importantly, glad to hear your Grandad’s improving. And be SO cool if you could come to Bloody Scotland. I’m just going to find a cheap B & B. Was going to stay in Edinburgh at my friend’s, but it’d rule out any late nights…the Edinburgh Book Festival is highly tempting too, I must admit…

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      • Considering how close I live to Liverpool’s ground sadly not! Too expensive and hard to get tickets when you don’t go regularly. When I was younger I used to ‘mind’ people’s cars that had gone the game. They’d usually give you a few quid after it! Not sure if it still happens but imagine it does. Slightly off topic but also remember the time me and a mate found a pile of church books being thrown out outside a church (obviously) and we managed to sell most of them off! Perhaps not quite as enterprising as Mr. C but not bad for a couple of kids…

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    • Thanks! Its one of these books freaked everyone out because you could imagine it happening to you, when you were younger, if you did that inter-railing thing everyone used to do between school and Uni! Yes F.G. Cottam’s earliest books are definitely the best, and of course Shirley Jackson is great for classic horror. Susan Hill is also great. I love a ghost story in the winter – as long as you don’t have to go out in the dark! I used to terrify myself with them, then realise I had to take the dog out before bed. It was awful as we lived in the country, and there were no streetlights. I used to work myself up into a real state! And I won’t even watch horror films at all. My OH is obsessed with these Ghost Hunter shows, especially the American ones, but I think they’re just nonsense!

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      • I got hooked on Shirley Jackson after reading The Lottery in high school. I also like Susan Hill. Have you read any of Joe Hill’s books? I’m a huge fan of his father, and now I’m crazy about his as well. I was a fan of Ghost Hunters when it first came on, but after a while the episodes kind of seemed the same, except for location of course.

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