The Face Stone

Lewis Hinton
Do ancient rocks and woodlands really harbour a secret that could bring about worldwide catastrophe? And can saving the health, life, and even mortal soul of one missing boy avert that catastrophe? The year is 1969, and Jack Sangster, a special investigator for a philanthropic organisation dedicated to helping troubled children, is sent to an elite school, where the son of a wealthy local family has disappeared. Sangster, despite his talent for dealing with people and problems, only comes upon more mysteries as the case unfolds, struggling to reconcile his natural pragmatism with disturbing questions. Follow as he navigates clues and red herrings, learning at every turn that if his eyes and ears are to be believed, the stakes linked to this case are rising at an alarming rate. Sangster tries to do the right thing even as his uncertainty rises; all the while a seemingly well-ordered and rational world is slowly revealed to perhaps be older, darker, and more chaotic than he ever imagined…

The blurb makes this an intriguing book to read. An eco thriller set in the late 60's. A story that promised glimpses into another world. A new writer to read. Yep sounds like my sort of thing. Would the book live up to the hype of the blurb? Well almost. Apart from a few reservations, it was a good read. I'd definitely recommend it.

The story follows an education inspector, with a difference. Jack Sangster is a likeable character. He's sent by the mysterious Granville Institute to investigate why a boy at a minor public school is constantly playing truant. When he arrives he finds that the boy has gone missing. Not only the one boy, but two others are missing to. It takes on the air of a cover-up. A cagey headmaster doesn't help Jack, who now assumes something worse is happening.

The story is really well written, the conversation spot on. There's an air of humour, a whiff of nostalgia as you navigate the pages. The story is incredibly easy to read. That's not derogatory, but shows an author who is in sync with his readership. There are a lot of facts in this book, lots of information about the natural world, which I loved. It's not fantastical. I loved all this little nuggets of wisdom that appear. The story strides along to the point you're near the end and don't know how it's all going to come together.

That may be the one place I think this book is lacking. The main storyline about the boy ends too quickly for me. The adrenaline rush of the rescue near the end is too quick. Other than that, I can't grumble, it's an excellent read. Jack Sangster is a character I want to read more about. I see there are another two planned, both set in the eco world.

Four stars, very nearly five for this debut Jack Sangster novel. Look forward to reading more.

I received The Face Stone through Netgallery in return for a fair and unbiased review. Thanks also to publishers The Book Guild.

Review by Brompton Sawdon
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Lewis Hinton

Thank you Brompton. I'm thrilled you liked The Face Stone, and as a debut novel writer, your words are very precious. Jack Sangster is off to Cornwall next, in The Face Stone sequel "Angel's Blade" (comes out 28 October). I really look forward to hearing what you think of my second novel!

Best,

Lewis

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Brompton Sawdon - Author

Brompton loves books and is always willing to give a viewpoint on books that have been exciting or disappointing.

From the top of a tower, somewhere in the Pennine Hills, Brompton views the world though world weary eyes. Occasionally ranting or raving over something that may seem irrelevant to you but matters to Brompton.

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