Name: The Midnight Man (Slayton Thrillers #1)
Author: Caroline Mitchell
Number of Pages: 311 (Kindle)
Published: October 13th 2021 by Embla Books
Genre: Thriller, Mystery
If you open your door to the Midnight Man, hide with a candle wherever you can. Try not to scream as he draws near, because one of you won’t be leaving here…
On Halloween night in Slayton, five girls go to Blackhall Manor to play the Midnight Game. They write their names on a piece of paper and prick their fingers to soak it in blood. At exactly midnight they knock on the door twenty-two times – they have invited the Midnight Man in.
It was supposed to be a game, but only four girls come home.
Detective Sarah Noble has just returned to the force, and no one knows more about Blackhall Manor than her. It’s a case that will take Sarah back to everything she’s been running from, and shake her to the core.
Will she be ready to meet the Midnight Man?
The Midnight Man is an eerie thriller of a tale which begins when five school friends each receive the invitation to play the infamous Midnight Game. They’re willing participants, believing at first that the leader of their group, Angelica, has arranged the whole thing for some Halloween fun. Only, after a late night venture to Blackhall Manor, scene of a shocking crime 25 years prior, Angelica doesn’t come home.
The opening to this was really atmospheric and spooky, and it has a fantastically eerie location in Blackhall Manor, the now abandoned derelict manor house, isolated on a hilltop and surrounded by woodland. As the girls brave a night in this old house with it’s creaky floors and rotting facades, it’s clear that there’s something lurking, and fuels the idea that there may be a little more to the old story of the Midnight Game.
It’s all very mysterious from the outset as we meet the central characters.
Sarah is a woman returning to her job with the police after a year’s absence brought about by some scandal which we’re not privy to at first. The idea is she eases herself back into the job on restricted duties, only that doesn’t play out when she comes across people with possible links to the Midnight Game and the disappearance of Angelica.
Then there’s Maggie and her young son Elliot. Elliot is troubled by dreams, only they tend to have eerie relevance to things that actually happen in real life, and Maggie doesn’t quite know what to do about it. Elliot was at the heart of this story; as his experiences gradually become more involved and more frightening for him, he may have insights that could save a life.
Slayton also plays host to a whole range of people who could be either potential victims of the Midnight Man or be involved in the deaths and disappearances occurring, and watching Sarah and her colleagues try to piece it all together was engrossing.
This was a fast-paced read that threw in many unexpected elements towards the conclusion. I honestly thought I had it all worked out at least twice and then, well, I’ll just say I was no where near the big reveal, and I like to be surprised.
This is the first Slayton book and I believe there’s another one out now called The Night Whispers which I may be tempted to read some time to find out what happens next in this town that seems touched by some sort of darkness.