The blurb: John Elliott is the recently appointed vicar of St Joseph’s – a dilapidated church with a congregation of sixteen and a leaky roof. Having entered the Church more by default than through any great calling, he struggles to inject some life into his ailing parish. His wife Christine longs for them to escape the endless rounds of coffee mornings and cake sales. Then Theo, a child at her school, starts to exhibit strange marks on his hands and feet that vanish almost as soon as they have appeared. What has produced these marks – is it physical violence or something stranger? And why has the previous vicar of St Joseph’s ended up in a psychiatric hospital?
My review: This is the first book I’ve ever read by Paul Torday and I was slightly disappointed. I know it’s a novella but it just ended without any notice, like I’d face planted into a wall. There was no going round it. I’ve only just found out through Goodreads that this is a prequal to his new book out later this month. This was however, poorly signposted and if I hadn’t been writing this review, as a reader, I would never have found out.
On the merits of the story the characterisation is good, the plot had me in suspense, I wanted to know what was going to happen to the little boy, it was thrilling edge of the seat stuff. Then nothing. The mystery just evaporates. To say it was an anti-climax is an understatement. This could have been so good. It was so good the first three quarters of it. I’m not sure I’ll read the new novel. I feel cheated really, a digital short story should be just that, a completed story unless very explicitly otherwise stated.
4 out of 10 stars for an interesting premise ****
BUY ME! Theo: A Novella