Cornwall, land of tin mines, surfing, cream teas and stunning scenery. A place that many people only see for a couple of weeks, where everything looks calm and happy.
But Cornwall has another side, a darker underbelly, where the worst thing is not that a seagull might steal your chips. It’s that you could end up very dead.
Gary Kruse taps into this other Cornwall in Badlands, a tale of families, relationships, secrets, crime and corruption in the highest places.
Right from the start, we’re catapulted into the action, as Willow (not her real name) is seen returning to Cornwall in response to a plea for help from her sister, Ellie. After six years apart, with minimal contact, she has a lot of catching up to do.
There are a whole host of things going on, smuggling, a cult led by a charismatic priest but ruled by fear, dubious deaths and blackmail; and that’s all in the first few pages.
Her arrival has ruffled feathers, why is she here, what does she know?
Willow and Ellie have a tangled past (to say the least), which has put them both in danger. There’s guilt, anger, recrimination and a whole host of emotions unleashed by the cast, who all have history with Willow and a possible part in Ellie’s disappearance. The question is, who is on her side?
Surf. Sand. Smugglers. Murder.
Willow has run as far as she can.
From her home.
From the friends she betrayed.
From the family who betrayed her.
From her own name.
But a cry for help will bring her back.
Back to face her family.
Back to face the sins of her past.
Back to face the darkness at the heart of Cornwall.
In the search for her sister, Willow will face deception and betrayal, before she’ll find love – and herself. But will she uncover how close the enemy is, or will she become another victim of the Badlands?
A breakneck thriller that kept me hooked.
Willow’s sister, Ellie, is in trouble. A coded message brings Willow halfway around the world. But where is her sister, what is she mixed up in?
Everyone’s interested in her arrival, the people she used to know and the family she ran from. There are secrets and reminders of the darker side that’s present even in the seemingly idyllic Cornish countryside.
People, outwardly respectable, are up to no good and Willow might be in their way. Faced with the nightmare situation that’s unfolding as she searches for her sister, Willow has no idea who can she trust and who is being manipulated. The truth will be revealed, is she ready for it?
The writing is superb, action scenes are immediate and shocking, yet not gratuitous, the descriptions realistically visceral. The setting is used to maximum effect, the atmosphere that the author creates grabs you like a vice.
I found myself reading faster and faster as the story unfolded, I wanted to know yet I didn’t want the thrill ride to stop.
I have no hesitation in recommending this excellent thriller
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