The Devil's Beat - Robert Edric Synopsis

It is surely a simple case of hysteria. Four young women allegedly witness a terrifying apparition while walking in the woods. Has the devil really revealed himself to them? Are they genuine victims of demonic possession? Or, as most suspect, is their purpose in claiming all of this considerably more prosaic? The eyes of the country turn to a small Nottinghamshire town, where an inquiry is to be held. Everyone there is living through hard, uncertain times. The king is recently dead. It is a new century -- a new world looking to the future. But here, in the ancient heart of England, an old beast stirs.

Going by the blurb you think you are going to get a nasty, shivery little tale about pastoral superstition - however all is not as it seems and that is not all together a bad thing.

You expect a read full of supernatural shenanigans when what you get is people being devilishly mean to each other and not much else. But the quality of the writing, the frighteningly good characterisation and the underlying tension of this sad story more than make up for any lost expectations of a satanic romp. It is quite extraordinary that a story about a non story where not much happens can be quiet so compelling.

Edric is an author who makes his reader work hard and you have to really think what is going on beneath the surface in this dreamlike, claustrophobic village and of course there is no nice, easy ending. As someone said on Amazon it is like watching episode 1 of a series...and then it is cancelled.

An extraordinary novel -- Picnic at Hanging Rock meets Howard's End meet The Crucible.