My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Social worker Johnny Malkin is battling a crippling workload and a hostile local community. That’s on a good day: things are about to get a whole lot worse.
Two fourteen-year-old girls are found wandering Aitken Wood on the slopes of Pendle Hill, claiming to have been raped by a gang of men. With no female social workers available, Johnny is assigned to their case. But what, at first, looks like yet another incident of child exploitation takes a sinister turn when the girls start speaking of a forthcoming apocalypse.
When Johnny interviews one of the girls, Jenna Dunham, her story starts to unravel. His investigation draws him into a tight-knit village community in the shadow of Pendle Hill, where whispers of witchcraft and child abuse go back to the Middle Ages.
One name recurs: The Hobbledy Man. Is he responsible for the outbreaks of violence sweeping across the country?
Is he more than just myth?
Pendle Fire is the first book I have read by Paul Southern and I'm impressed with how he mixes what would be an interesting story in itself with the added myth of The Hobbledy Man. I actually had to google The Hobbledy Man to see if there are any historical facts concerning him, but alas lol, or perhaps thankfully he's just for this book.
This is a book with lots of tension right from the start. You just know that something will happen as the violence on the streets gets worse and the main characters are getting closer and closer to a confrontation at Pendle Hill. I really enjoyed reading this book, I loved the added myth of a mysterious figure that reappears through history and is said to bring the world to an end of not a sacrifice is made. It's such an engrossing tale!