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Cold Light

Jenn Ashworth

8 Reviews

Rated 0

Fiction, Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)

An unsettling, darkly humorous tale of teenage girls in a predatory adult world, and a cocktail of lies, jealousy and unworldliness that leads to tragedy.

I'm sitting on my couch, watching the local news. There's Chloe's parents, the mayor, the hangers on, all grouped round the pond for the ceremony. It's ten years since Chloe and Carl drowned, and they've finally chosen a memorial - a stupid summerhouse. The mayor has a spade decked out in pink and white ribbon, and he's started to dig.

You can tell from their faces that something has gone wrong. But I'm the one who knows straightaway that the mayor has found a body. And I know who it is.

This is the tale of three fourteen-year-old girls and a volatile combination of lies, jealousy and perversion that ends in tragedy. Except the tragedy is even darker and more tangled than their tight-knit community has been persuaded to believe.

Blackly funny and with a surreal edge to its portrait of a northern English town, Jenn Ashworth's gripping novel captures the intensity of girls' friendships and the dangers they face in a predatory adult world they think they can handle. And it shows just how far that world is willing to let sentiment get in the way of the truth.

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Praise for Cold Light

  • Ashworth's novel is bleak and gritty, painting an uncompromising portrait of teenage life... In the best possible way this novel is an uncomfortable read. - Lucy Scholes, Sunday Times

  • That most uncommon delight - a literary page-turner. - Sunday Times

  • Haunting...it is told by the hand of a true storyteller. - Independent

  • Award-winning Jenn Ashworth leavens a bleak but pacey story with dry, wry humour, resulting in an extraordinarily perceptive and beautifully written novel - Sunday Express

  • A psychological thriller of the first order. - The Age, Australia

  • A wonderful tale, beautifully told. - Bella

  • Remember teenage bitching and insecurity? This book will take you back there, except with more lies and gruesome murder. Scarily believable. - Fabulous

  • a chilling, blackly funny novel with a surreal edge about the intensity of teenage friendship. - Grazia

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Jenn Ashworth

Jenn Ashworth was born in 1982 in Preston. She studied English at Cambridge and since then has gained an MA from Manchester University, trained as a librarian and run a prison library in Lancashire. She now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Her first novel, A KIND OF INTIMACY, was published in 2009 and won a Betty Trask Award. Her second, COLD LIGHT, was published by Sceptre in 2011 and she was chosen by BBC's The Culture Show as one of the twelve Best New British Novelists. Her most recent novels are THE FRIDAY GOSPELS and FELL. She lives in Lancaster.

Benjamin Webster received the Northern Writers' Award for fiction in 2016. Born in Lancashire and now living in Yorkshire, JUDAS! is his first published work.

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