‘The Taking of Annie Thorne’ – C.J. Tudor

The Taking of Annie Thorne opens in suitably horrific fashion. A teacher with a history of mental health issues bludgeons her son to death and writes Not My Son on the walls in his blood before killing herself. To the residents of Arnhill it’s another, albeit tragic, example of a life cut short.

Then we shift our focus to Joe Thorne. For reasons we’re not sure of he wheedles his way into a teaching job in his old school. There’s definite history with Joe, but we’re not told much until we have to be.

Slowly, we learn Joe – along with his friends of the time – is hiding a secret. Something to do with the disappearance of his sister, and an old pit that appears to be imbued with some kind of supernatural power.

Alongside this, we have a story about Joe’s gambling issues and his attempt to get out of debt while trying to avoid some pretty ruthless people.

While the story was a good read, it felt like it had been done before. There wasn’t enough information given about the scenario we’re asked to believe in, so it was built into something creepy without really building it up sufficiently. I really got irritated by the unnecessarily prejudiced attitudes towards autism and mental health issues. There’s also the rather implausible reveal regarding Joe’s ‘issue’ – surely there’d have been one or two clues before that point?