THE LANGUAGE OF THE DEAD, Stephen Kelly

16 April, 2015

“A fine-grained first novel.” (Kirkus Reviews)

As the shadow of World War II descends over Europe, Detective Inspector Thomas Lamb hunts for an elusive killer behind the veil of a seemingly charming English village.

German bombersLanguage of the Dead_CVRare arriving daily, seeking to crush England.  But in a rural Hampshire village, things have remained fairly quiet–until an elderly loner, Will Blackwell, is brutally murdered.  The method of his killing bears the hallmarks of the traditional vanquishing of a witch, and indeed, local legend claims that as a boy, Blackwell encountered a ghostly black dog sent from the devil who struck a bargain for Blackwell’s soul. Not long after the murder, a young woman who is carrying the illegitimate child of a fighter pilot also is violently killed; then a local drunkard ends up dead in an abandoned mill.  As the Germans continue their relentless attack, Detective Inspector Thomas Lamb must solve the crimes.  Do the killer’s motivations lie in the murky regions of the occult?

Filled with believable, psychologically complex characters in a vividly evoked historical setting, this superbly written, suspenseful mystery keeps the reader guessing from the very beginning to a startling conclusion.” (Gary Inbinder, author of The Devil in Montmartre)

This is a thrilling read. An evocative debut with a dark secret at its heart, Language of the Dead grips from the beginning and refuses to relinquish its hold until the final page. Based on a real case the novel takes the facts in a new and original direction, providing a thrilling dénouement via some very satisfying twists and turns. I for one can’t wait to read more about the adventures of Inspector Lamb and his team in the future.” (Diana Bretherick, author of City of Devils)

A gripping mystery set in the middle of the German air raids on Britain in World War Two. Grisly murder, war, the occult, and lively characters with dark secrets all come together in this fine story.” (Philip Freeman, author of St. Brigid’s Bones)