A deeply atmospheric literary horror novel about the nature of repressed guilt, grief and fear.
Daniel once had a baby brother, but he died, a long time ago now. And he had a wife and a daughter, but that didn't work out, so now he's alone. The easy monotony of his job as a milkman in the remote northwest of England demands nothing from him other than dealing with unreasonable customer demands and the vagaries of his enigmatic boss.
But things are changing. Daniel's started having nightmares, seeing things that can't possibly be there - like the naked, emaciated giant with a black bag over its head which is so real he swears he could touch it . . . if he dared.
It's not just at night bad things are happening, either, or just to him. Shaken and unnerved, he opens up to a local witch. She can't t discern the origins of his haunting, but she can provide him with a protective ward - a witch-bottle - if, in return, he will deliver her products on his rounds.
But not everyone's happy to find people meddling with witch-bottles. Things are about to get very unpleasant . . .
Witch Bottle is literary horror at its finest, perfect for fans of Andrew Michael Hurley's The Loney and Starve Acre.
Fletcher excels at infusing the mundane . . . with a slow-burning sense of unease - Guardian
Unsettling, horribly gripping and touched with genius - Daily Mail
Fletcher has a most distinctive voice, and convinces me that there may be some truth at last in those rumours about a renaissance in British supernatural fiction. - Lisa Tuttle, The Times
An acutely unsettling folk horror with a superbly unreliable narrator - Metro
Daniel's traumatic back story makes it easy for the sceptic not just to accept but to enjoy and admire the supernatural element as projections from a deeply troubled mind. This gives the novel a political as well as a psychological edge, which I particularly appreciated. One of this year's favourite reads - Anne Goodwin, author of Sugar and Snails
I absolutely loved it. This book is the narrative equivalent of a "Magic Eye" painting - you know that there's more going on below the surface and try as you might to decipher exactly why it is, things keep shifting before your very eyes and the final picture eludes you right to the very end. And perhaps even afterwards . . . The perfect balance of a perfectly created fictional world and a realistic portrayal of an unsettling atmosphere and a wonderfully unreliable narrator. Dark, intriguing and profoundly unsettling - On the Shelf
Terrifying, slow-burning, exquisitely wrought - Lancashire Evening Post
A story with an air of menace throughout - and I loved it! It's dark, unsettling . . . I couldn't put it down. It really explores the human emotions of loss, of grief, of loneliness and of self-preservation, one of those really unsettling reads. A haunting, dark and twisty story - Books and Me
Tom Fletcher is a writer of horror and dark fantasy novels and short fiction. His first three horror novels, The Leaping, The Thing on the Shore and The Ravenglass Eye, were followed by Gleam and Idle Hands, the first two books in The Factory Trilogy, his first fantasy series. His new novel, Witch-Bottle, is a deeply atmospheric modern gothic tale of grief and guilt. He lives in a remote village in Cumbria with his wife and family.