Black Thorn

Sarah Hilary

14 March 2024
400 pages


Sarah Hilary, Theakston’s Crime Novel of the Year winner and author of Fragile, returns with Black Thorn, a slow-burn psychological mystery set against the abandonment of an exclusive housing development and devastation of the families that lived there . . .

'An astonishingly gifted writer' – Marian Keyes

‘Immersive, claustrophobic, unbearably tense and quite brilliant' – Ann Cleeves

How much do you really know about the people next door?

Blackthorn Ashes was meant to be their forever home. For the first six families moving into the exclusive new housing development, it was a chance to live a peaceful life on the cliffs overlooking the Cornish sea, safe in the knowledge that it had been created just for them.

But six weeks later, paradise is lost. Six people are dead. And Blackthorn Ashes is left abandoned and unfinished, its dark shadows hiding all manner of secrets.

One of its surviving residents, exiled to a local caravan park in the wake of the tragedy, is Agnes Gale, an autistic woman trying to survive the fallout with her family. She is determined to find out the truth about what happened. Even if that truth is deadlier than she could have ever believed possible . . .

With a compelling, diverse cast of characters, and moving back-and-forth between time periods with an increasingly pervasive sense of unease, Black Thorn is perfect for book clubs and fans of Belinda Bauer.

‘A creepy and atmospheric tale, beautifully and sensitively written’ – The Guardian

‘This one’s a real cracker’ – Crime Fiction Lover

Readers love Black Thorn:

‘Grips so hard you can't stop reading’

‘Clever, haunting and beautifully written’

‘An author that never puts a foot wrong’

I’ve loved Sarah’s work from the beginning. She’s a brave writer, shifting tone and subject matter, always surprising. Above all, she’s a master of her craft. In every book she makes the words sing
Nail-biting, heart-wrenching stuff. Black Thorn has the atmosphere and drama of a modern-day du Maurier novel. Sarah Hilary’s uncanny ability to make readers not just see through her characters’ eyes but feel through their skin in unparalleled
A creepy and atmospheric tale, beautifully and sensitively written