The String Diaries – Stephen Lloyd Jones
He has a face you love. A voice you trust. To survive you must kill him.
The rules of survival are handed from mother to daughter. Inherited, like the curse that has stalked Hannah and her family across centuries.
He changes his appearance at will, speaks with a stolen voice and hides behind the face of a beloved, waiting to strike.
Generation after generation, he has destroyed them. And all they could do was to run.
Now, it is time for Hannah to turn and fight.
Review copy kindly provided by Bookbridgr from Headline.
Hannah lives her life in constant fear. She has a stalker and has to maintain a constant vigilance to ensure he cannot find her. To help her evade her pursuer she has a very special collection of books, diaries and journals, which were handed down from her mother and grandmother. They recount stories of their experiences and warn of the evil that stalks them. This is necessary as they were all running from is the same man Jakab– he does not age, he can change his physical appearance to exactly mirror another and he will let no one get in his way.
In his debut novel Stephen Lloyd Jones has crafted a tense thriller which will keep you turning pages well into the night. The story jumps from a modern day setting back into 18th century Hungary where Hannah’s nemesis Jakab is introduced. We learn of his coming of age, how he develops his ‘talent’ of assuming another’s identity and the corrupting power that this gives him. Back to the present time and we find out a little more of Hannah and her family history – always with the constant threat of the ‘Bad Man’.
Pacing within the story is extremely well handled, Lloyd Jones progresses the present day pursuit throughout the story but introduces several cliff-hanger moments at which point he takes us back in time to develop the back-story and flesh out the character of his monster.
Despite the obvious corruption of Jakab and the callous nature he shows, the author also conveys the sense of loss that Jabab has experienced and you get an understanding into what motivates his murderous spree through the years.
A teaser chapter from a second novel at the end of The String Diaries confirms that there will be more to follow from Stephen Lloyd Jones – on the evidence of the first book the next story will be a welcome addition to my library.