Lure - by Tim McGregor
Man. Where to start?
I’ve been blown away by Tim’s creativity and prose from the first moment I started Hearts, strange and dreadful, and on through Wasps in the Ice Cream, which I was lucky enough to get a hold of, even though it disappeared with the collapse of Silver Shamrock Publishing (I believe it has been snapped up, so the world is a better place). Tenebrous Press very kindly sent me an ARC, and It killed me to keep it waiting, so I devoured it in a day.
So, how did it read?
As you would expect.
The world-building here is sublime. A coastal village, a hard life - almost medieval lifestyles, women treated as second-rate citizens, and men given the choice of who they want to marry, regardless of the feelings of the womenfolk. Poverty is rife, especially for Kasper (the protagonist) ‘s family, being the son of a preacher, he is scorned by all in the village, mostly fishermen by trade. Pip, his younger “Turnip” brother, a drip nose idiot, enforces the idea that there is no lower place to go, and Kaspar’s doomed love to Agnet, his true love, married to the local hero, sets the scene for violence and revenge.
This is exactly the type of setting I could read all day. The politics in the village are mesmerizing. The single-handed downplay of women and their emotions is breathtaking. The injustice is written off as cold harsh reality of life on the edge of starvation – outstanding.
And then the magic happens. A mermaid (or "Luremaid") stumbles into the bay, and all hell breaks loose. That addition of the magical to an already spellbinding atmosphere – well, Tim had me from the first page. The simplicity of the language, the detail of traditions, beliefs, and the presentation of Pip’s simplicity – it has all the ingredients of an unforgettable story.
We watch enthralled as all of the things that Kaspar has done come crashing down around his head, where his desperate secret is revealed to have been known by an enemy all along when, in the midst of the darkness, he decides on a course of action, and it is such a wonderful moment. A true “Oh - no” spoken out loud into a place of denial, when we finally accept that this was never going to be a happily ever after, and quite possibly there were never any heroes to this tale.
And the descent is brutal.
McGregor spares no punches, hides no death stroke. The guts of the story spill out for all to see and the ending is as bleak as you could imagine. The fact that we come so close to redemption, so close to achieving an impossible dream, makes the bittersweet tang of the vinegar reality all the more painful to swallow.
I loved every second of it. 5 out of 5 ⭐ ‘s, and there is no doubt in my mind that Tim is an Insta-buy Author.
Buy this book. Buy all his books.
You can buy Lure, by clicking on the appropriate Amazon link, below:
You can visit Tim's Website, HERE.
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You can find Tim on Twitter, HERE.