1963: Rowena Crale and her family have recently moved into an old house in a small English village. But the house appears to be resisting all attempts at renovation. Walls ooze damp. Stains come through layers of wallpaper. Ceilings sag. And strange noises - voices - emanate from empty rooms.
As Rowena struggles with the upheaval of builders while trying to be a dutiful wife to her husband and a good mother to her five small children, her life starts to disintegrate. And then her eldest and prettiest daughter goes missing. Out in the village, a frantic search is mounted - while inside the house reveals its darkest secret: a hidden room with no windows and no obvious entrance. Boarded up, it smells of old food, disinfectant - and death...
Set in a world where appearances are everything, and nothing is as it seems, Touched is unsettling, claustrophobic, and utterly gripping.
Praise for "Touched"
‘I read it with great delight. A delicious page-turning treat.’
‘Totally wonderful. Touched makes me mindful of Dylan Thomas, it's so poetic and haunting; Joanna Briscoe is a truly lovely writer’
‘a claustrophobic net of whispers and guilt and danger… It’s all wonderfully creepy… Touched is thoroughly eerie, an enjoyably chilling sliver of ice on a hot summer's day…’
Observer Thriller of the Month
‘Touched, Joanna Briscoe’s fifth novel, is a ghost story interwoven with crime, love and horror. It works on every level… Touched is a finely balanced creation, reminiscent of The Turn of the Screw by Henry James. Briscoe’s prose is sensuous, poetic, light. The rhythm is delicately controlled. A strange, fascinating tale’
‘Touched by Joanna Briscoe is a brilliantly eerie story of a seemingly perfect village and the people that move there’
Mail on Sunday
‘Perfection of a certain kind can be peculiarly creepy….that sense of suffocation and slowly creeping madness is something that Touched expertly mines.’
‘What was meant to be a pastoral idyll turns nightmarish’
‘An old fashioned, scary horror story’
‘Briscoe builds suspense brilliantly’
‘Both gripping and hypnotic. It compels the reader to turn the page until the final word has whispered by. ..My eye was constantly tempted to jump across the page to see what was awaiting me…It’s an incredibly addictive and satisfying read. . – Go Book Yourself