The Taking of Annie Thorne is C J Tudor’s second novel. Her debut, The Chalk Man, was widely talked about and praised – by me too, I thought it was a great read – and as this one is in a similar psychological thriller / horror vein, I was very much looking forward to it.
After years away, Joe Thorne goes back to his hometown of Arnhill, a small mining village with history and secrets. He takes a job as a teacher in his old school and has returned to settle some scores… amongst other things. His little sister, Annie, disappeared at the age of eight for 48 hours, and when she returned, it was as if she was a different person. He wants to know why, especially as the past seems to be repeating itself, with gruesome consequences.
I actually found my mind wandering back to the character of Ed from The Chalk Man while listening to this. I thought there was a similar feel between him and Joe Thorne, both naturally melancholic, drawn to mysteries from their past, but with a certain charm that makes you want to find out more about them.
I have to say though, I did finish this feeling a tad deflated; although The Taking of Annie Thorne had great ideas and characters, the last few chapters didn’t quite fizz the way I needed them to and I had one or two questions that weren’t answered, for example the whole horror thread was not developed enough to give it authority in the story. BUT that’s not to say I didn’t greatly enjoy reading (listening to) this. Actor Richard Armitage narrates and he completely sold it to me; adjusting his accent slightly – and perfectly – for each character and putting a level of passion and drama into the read that made the story pop off the pages. I’d definitely recommend a listen if you were a fan of The Chalk Man or, according to other reviews I’ve read (as I’ve not read this one myself), Stephen King’s Pet Cemetery. I guess it’s always tricky to follow up such a popular debut, but I’m a fan of C J Tudor’s writing and voice, so will definitely be giving book three a read.
/ Published by Michael Joseph 2019
/ Audiobook narrated by Richard Armitage
/ Running time: 10 hrs 43 mins
/ Rating: 3.5/5