Flesh And Blood by Simon Cheshire – Book Review and Exclusive Prequel for Hothouse Readers

Flesh and Blood is the third Young Adult chiller from the good folks at Red Eye and quite a gruesome little ride it is too!

fleshSam Hunter’s parents strike it rich and move into the exclusive new neighbourhood of Priory Mews, but Sam’s first day at his new school doesn’t start that well when a body with a missing brain is discovered nearby. On the plus side he runs into the lovely Emma Greenhill, who lives at Bierce Priory on Sam’s new estate. Emma’s family are the leading lights of the local community. Dad’s a famous surgeon, mum, who is also the local GP used to be a regular on Breakfast Telly and they also have the local council, business community and constabulary well inside their sphere of influence.

Well it does not take long for  Emma’s mum to recruit Sam’s parents to her practice, but something about Dr Greenhill creeps Sam out. Pretty soon Sam notices that his parents behavior has become more complacent and relaxed just like everyone else in the area, no matter how he behaves. Sam sets about investigating the Greenhills’s and discovers a web of gruesome murders and mutilations spreading from pre-war Germany to present day Priory Mews. Only problem for the budding investigative journalist is that he has no hard evidence so in cahoots with local journalist’s daughter Jo and their techy mate Liam, he decides to break into Bierce Priory while the Greenhills are off to New York and find out for himself. But unknown to Sam’s gang the Greenhill’s flight is cancelled at the last-minute. Things are going to get a bit messy!

Flesh and Blood is quite a fun read, the narrative is pretty exciting and the characters easy to relate to. At the opening I was reminded a lot of Ira Levin’s The Stepford Wives with its picture of domestic serenity at a new housing development, where something disturbing lurks beneath, but then it plunged into a world of mad gruesome Frankenstein science. My only criticism was that the story seemed a bit rushed towards the conclusion. I give it a 555/666.

Now to set the scene for you my precious flowers the nice people at Red Eye slid an exclusive prequel from author Simon Cheshire under the Hothouse dungeon door.

Ten years ago…
The seven-year-old girl playing on the lawn looked up as her father approached. For a moment, the summer sunshine reduced him to a silhouette, and she shielded her eyes against the glare.
He was immaculately dressed, as always: highly polished shoes, dark blue suit, silk tie, crisp white shirt. People often found his formality a little overbearing, but to the little girl it was a comfort. His neatness was familiar, consistent, reliable.
“Hello Daddy,” she called, “you’re back early.”
“Hello Emma,” he said. As he got near to her, she could smell his expensive cologne. “The conference finished by lunchtime, and there wasn’t much traffic on the M40. Oh dear! I won’t hug you, sweetie, I can see you’re all messy. What have you been doing?”
Emma felt sheepish. The plastic tray in front of her on the grass was littered and smeary. She tried a diversionary tactic. “Did you read them your research? I bet they were impressed!”
“Hmm,” nodded her father, not really listening. He pointed to a streak of red on the lawn. “Oh, look! Emma! How many times?”
Emma bit her lip and glanced at the blood, now dried onto the grass. “I dropped the tray,” she muttered.
“You know it makes the grass grow unevenly,” tutted her father. “Your granddad will be livid.”
“Sorry, Daddy.”
“It’s all over your hands,” said her father. “You’re given study samples for educational purposes, young lady, not for messing around. Go on, take it inside to Mummy, get yourself cleaned up before tea. Mucky pup.”
“Sorry, Daddy,” smiled Emma. She picked up the plastic tray and carried it carefully. As she walked, the scalpel she’d been using rocked against the sliced-open remains of a human hand which were splayed across the tray’s surface.
Her father gazed up at the sky for a moment. It was a beautiful and uniform blue, deep and cloudless. He smudged at the bloodstain for moment with the shiny toe of his shoe, then followed his daughter into the house.

I think that pretty much gives you an idea of what to expect. Flesh and Blood is out now in the UK price £6.99.