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‘You’ve displeased me. You things always do. Now it’s time for us to part.’ He watched, expressionless, as the thing raised a feeble arm; then he released a handle on the winch. The thing slumped, disappeared into the foot wide gap between the walls. He turned to the pile of loose bricks, looking for his trowel... – from Scarecrow
When Danny Sanchez, a hard-bitten journalist working in the Almeria region of Spain is sent to cover the demolition of the home of a retired expat couple, he lands a much bigger – and more grisly – story than he bargained for. As the diggers begin to tear down the house, a body, partially decomposed, its face swathed in a strange black sheath, is suddenly revealed dangling in the depths of the brickwork…
From the deeply sinister opening pages, Scarecrow draws the reader down an inexorable, tortuous path of discovery and into the gruesome activities of a serial killer so depraved it almost defies comprehension. Via thuggish cowboy builders, a missing drug-addicted teenage boy, and a house with a stinking secret wall, Danny’s scoop of a lifetime becomes a personal crusade to snare the elusive murderer.
Alternating between Spain and England, the story takes us into the mind of the complex, highly driven Danny. An expert at ferreting out information from even the most recalcitrant of contacts, this skilled journalist will stop at nothing, even risking his own life, to find the answers that have escaped the authorities for decades.
Moving with a Chandleresque efficiency, the narrative is compelling and full of unexpected but highly credible twists; the dialogue stark and often harsh. Pritchard’s mastery lies in the psychology of his characters, his vivid descriptive abilities and his subtle pacing. An essential read for anyone who relishes burning the midnight oil with a superlatively terrifying crime novel, Scarecrow will keep the reader guessing right to the end.
‘Pritchard scratches the surface of the Spanish paradise, and finds evil lurking beneath.’ —Giles Tremlett, author of Ghosts of Spain
‘The twists in here are exceptional – none of this cliché stuff – and you’ll be impressed at how such a complex novel can be both easy to read yet challenging on the mind. Pritchard really gets into the minds of his characters and the physiological aspect of this book is very disturbing; probably because there are people out there that really are as disturbed as some of these characters. I can’t recommend this enough. If you’re looking for a great plot, engaging characters, fast pace and a completely different read to the norm, then make sure you get it on your Christmas list – you won’t be disappointed.’ —Steph Roundsmith, Mean Streets: The Home of Crime Fiction
‘A nail-biting murder mystery with a distinct European flavor, steady pacing that leads to an exciting finish, and characters with depth and humor.’ —Tammy Sparks, Books, Bones and Buffy
‘I have no idea of whether this is the authors debut novel, but I’m guessing it may well be. If so, I stand and applaud him. I will also find his author page and sign up for notifications of when his next book will be released as I don’t want to miss it. He is that good folks.’ —Russ Thompson, Hellnotes
‘What first impressed me about Scarecrow are the lengths Pritchard goes to when immersing the reader in life beneath the Spanish sun. Write what you know is clearly on show here as we get a true sense of the frustrated journalist, how the British react to life abroad and the quarrels between those wishing simply to settle and make home and the convoluted twists of the Spanish governmental system. Pritchard paints the scene so vividly, the true joy of this book isn’t the murder mystery element, but the setting and the life surrounding it. Spain should be a place of sun, sea, sex and sangria, but Pritchard lifts up and exposes the grim underbelly of life in Almeria. From the criminal element that thrive and deceive in the climate, the wandering unfortunates that immigrate illegally with a want for a better life and the inept, often corrupt governments that will just as happily take money from ex-pats and then crush their dreams with as much glee. This melting pot provides us with a dangerous though beautiful setting.’ —Nathan Robinson, Snakebite Horror
‘A very enjoyable tale of murder and mayhem and piercingly accurate in its portrayal of Brits abroad, in this case, Spain. Hero Danny is one of the ex-pats. He works for a local paper in Almeria and has an instinct for a good story. But his nose regularly leads him into trouble, as does his dodgy relationship with his boss – and his mum. It makes him very human but the killer is something else: a twisted weirdo with an eye for torture and a knack of making useful friends. Well worth a read.’ —Peter Thornton, The Sun