hbk out May 99
Published by Hodder & Stoughton
In her remarkable novel, The Passion, Jeanette Winterson exhorts her readers to, "Trust me, I'm telling you stories." This is, in effect, the invitation held out by Chaz Brenchley, storyteller extraordinaire, in his latest novel. Shelter is the narrative of Rowan Coffey, a brilliant young mathematician who flees home seeking a place of safety following the murder of his friend near their Cambridge college, a murder whose prime suspect the police have identified as Rowan himself, for want of any better target to point the finger at.
But the sanctuary Rowan seeks is itself under threat. A proposed reservoir will destroy the valley, a gaggle of New Age travellers have arrived to overwinter near his mother's cottage, and the tranquillity of his relationship with his older lover Juliet is endangered by her mentally handicapped brother. Worst of all, death seems to be following Rowan like a bad smell.
Bewitchingly told, this is a deceptive gem of a novel, mysterious, atmospheric and charged with threat. As Rowan struggles to come to terms with what is happening around him, the reader is charmed by the magic of Brenchley's subtle prose. This is a story to savour, with a twist in the tale that chills the very marrow.
- Gold Dagger winner & creator of Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan & Tony Hill)