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Black Mamba
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Black Mamba (Hardback)

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'Great fun... the suspense slips its slow coils around you' Daily Mail

Daddy, there's a man in our room...

This is the chilling announcement Alfie hears one night, when he wakes in his quiet, suburban house to find his twin daughters at the foot of his bed. It's been nine months since Pippa - their mother - suddenly died and they've been unsettled ever since, so Alfie assumes they've probably had a nightmare. Still, he goes to check to reassure the girls. As expected he finds no man, but in the following days the girls begin to refer to someone called Black Mamba. What seemingly begins as an imaginary friend quickly develops into something darker, more obsessive, potentially violent. Alfie finds himself struggling to cope, and so he turns to Julia - Pippa's twin and a psychotherapist - for help. But as Black Mamba's coils tighten around the girls, Alfie and Julia must contend with their own unspoken sense of loss, their unacknowledged attraction to one another, and the true character of the presence poisoning the twins' minds...

A darkling tale of tragedy, hauntings and sexual desire, Black Mamba is a novel of a father's love for his struggling daughters, and a widower's growing love for a woman after his wife's death. With smart, gothicky touches and a large and generous challenge to our assumptions of what and who constitutes a modern family, it explores both the limits we'll go to for our children and the sunken taboos of grief - of how erotics can still exist, and can even be life giving, after suffering loss.

Fiction & PoetryHorrorFiction & PoetryModern & contemporary fiction post c 1945 Publisher: Atlantic Books Publication Date: 02/06/2022 ISBN-13: 9781838956554  Details: Type: Hardback Format: Books
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William Friend studied English, French and Italian at university. He lives in Hertfordshire with his partner. Black Mamba is his first novel.

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Customer Reviews

"Daddy, there's a man in our room..." What a chilling start to this Gothic horror debut novel by William Friend. The story of widowed Alfie and his twin daughters, there is some great atmospheric writing here as the girls' imaginary friend turns into something much more creepy. The novel encompasses themes of grief and loss, faith and obsession, and the bond between twins. I really enjoyed the first half of the book, the tension mounts as you start to question whether Black Mamba is just a juvenile fantasy dreamed up by grieving children or a manifestation of something sinister. Unfortunately as the story went on I felt it flagged quite a bit. The back story involving the grandparents and their religious beliefs was not fully explained, and I found the ending disappointing, small revelations rather than a satisfying climax, it had too many loose ends and an ambiguous twist.

- 02/06/2022
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Black Mamba is a riveting book that - once you start reading - is hard to put down, with the question of whether the title creature is real or imagined keeping the reader guessing until the novel's conclusion. It deals with themes such as loss - not least that of Pippa as a wife, mother, sister and daughter after an "accident" nine months before the events in this particular story - as well as twinship and the power of recurring dreams (and how these impact on the way characters behave). I also thought the way the story was written - with the first person point of view switching (sometimes in the same chapter) between Alfie and Julia, whose unspoken romance provides an ongoing subplot - was reminiscent of a pair of talking heads reliving their experiences in a documentary, so this could be the sort of book which works well as a film or TV adaptation.

- 31/05/2022
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