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The Sin Eater by Sarah Rayne
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The Sin Eater (2012)

by Sarah Rayne

Series: Flint (2)

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This is the second in the Nell West/Michael Flint series of supernatural mysteries. I read and enjoyed Property of a Lady last year, which was the first book. In The Sin Eater, Benedict Doyle inherits his grandfather's house when he turns 21. He hasn't been to the house for a long time and when he returns there to look around before Nell prepares an inventory of the contents, he remembers the sinister things that happened when he was last there. A single chess piece is a key part of it all, along with the story of Benedict's great-grandfather, Declan.

This wasn't quite as good as Property of a Lady and wasn't the riveting read I was hoping for. It got off to a slow start and the writing sometimes seemed to be a bit amateurish for want of a better word. But then just after the half way point it started to grab my attention more and really got much more interesting. Nell and Michael are very much bit players in this story which is a shame but I suppose that is kind of necessary to make the stories work.

I will read the next in the series as they are easy reads, and hope for a more exciting start next time. ( )
  nicx27 | Apr 14, 2016 |
The Sin Eater by Sarah Rayne is the second novel in the Michael Flint / Nell West series and follows on from Property of a Lady. I absolutely fell in love with Property of a Lady, and gave it 5 stars in my review, so I was eager to read the next in the series. However, unfortunately for me The Sin Eater just wasn't able to match it.

Nell West is an antiques dealer and Michael Flint an academic working in Oxford and together they make a great pair. In this novel they become involved with Benedict through a friend and his inheritance of Holly Lodge. Benedict begins to experience a presence in Holly Lodge and is convinced he is suffering from dissociative personality disorder or DPD. I was frustrated by the character's explanations for what was happening to him: perhaps it was DPD, it was the mist, I knocked my head etc. In fact, each of the three main characters were reluctant to accept that there could be unexplained forces at work.

As the reader I jumped in straight away and was more than willing to accept what was happening and just wanted to get on with the plot. The character's continual reluctance held me back when I just wanted to be swept away by the narrative.

The sections set in London and Ireland in the 1890s were the most gripping of all, and I could easily have spent the entire novel there. The story of the first sin eater, the evil and malevolent chess pieces and the fire in the watch tower had me powering through the pages to find out what was going to happen. These sections were written in the signature Sarah Rayne style I've come to know and love and I just wish Michael, Nell and Benedict were less reluctant to accept what was happening to them, and get on with it.

I'm very much looking forward to reading the next in the series, The Silence. ( )
  Carpe_Librum | Jan 14, 2014 |
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Benedict Doyle had always known that if he entered the house that had belonged to his great-grandfather, the cost that had shadowed most of his own life would be waiting for him.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0727881620, Hardcover)

The sins of the past break through to the present in this chilling tale of supernatural suspense. - When Benedict Doyle finds himself the owner of his great-grandfather’s North London house, it stirs memories of his time there as a frightened eight-year-old and the strange glimpses that revealed the darkness in his family’s past, through which runs the grisly thread of an old legend about a chess set believed to possess a dark power. And when Michael Flint, meeting Benedict in Oxford, starts to research his story, chilling facts begin to emerge – facts that suggest the old legend contains a disturbing reality. Could the chess set’s malevolence be reaching out to the present?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:43 -0400)

When Benedict Doyle finds himself the owner of his great-grandfather's north London house, he is dismayed. For it was in that house that a sinister darkness of his family's past was revealed. Through that darkness runs the grisly thread of an old legend about a chess set - 32 carved figures believed to possess a dark power, but shut away in the forgotten library of a tumbledown Irish castle for many decades. And when Nell West begins to compile an inventory of Holly Lodge's contents for her antique business, it seems that the chess set's malevolence might be reaching out to the present ...… (more)

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