I absolutely could not put Path of Needles down. It was a complete joy of a read.
Crime fiction isn't usually my cup of tea, but Littlewood's novel is so original and exciting that it totally won me over. I've ordered A Cold Season now (normally I wouldn't go near anything with any reference to Richard & Judy on the cover!) I want more!
I really liked the idea of a 'bobby on the beat' getting a shot at the big time with such an unusual case, I thought that was a nice touch. And GREAT to see an independent female protagonist too, no "Kick Ass" (*shudder*) crop-topped heroine lusting after a buff, brooding male lead. In fact, there's none of that ridiculously sexist crap that Paranormal is so known for these days. Which made it an absolute pleasure to spend time with. Cate is such an 'everyman' character, struggling with her big break and not wanting to mess things up, common sense fighting with instinct, so aware of the consequences of a mistake. And perfectly capable of fighting her own battles and making her own decisions. Alice is a wonderful character too, so passionate about her subject, so dreamy and yet so focused. I'm going to miss her.
And of course, I've not even touched on the best of it yet. The Fairy Tale angle. I think it's going to be one that you'll either love or hate. I couldn't have loved it more. I was hooked on Fairy Tales growing up, and getting to read about them in an adult novel was wonderful. Terrifyingly wonderful. To see the darkness and the violence behind the well known children's tales was an education for me. It's such a meticulously researched novel, the tale variants are completely compelling, and the darkness and violence of these seemingly innocuous bedtime tales was fantastic material for one of the creepiest killers I've ever encountered in fiction. Truly red in tooth and claw.
Littlewood really got into my head. I walked my son down to the park about an hour after finishing this one, and we passed a house with an aviary in the back garden and a tree filled with bird feeders of every description, I panicked and sped the buggy up double time to get away from it, just in case! (You'll know when you read it).
If you're a fan of Fairy Tales, and you appreciate the darkness of their roots, you're going to love this book. I can't recommend it highly enough. Five stars no question.