Bookseller Information

Publication Date
Publication Status
Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
Trim Size
198 x 129mm

The Book Collector


Alice Thompson’s new novel is a Gothic story of book collecting, mutilation and madness. Violet is obsessed with the books of fairy tales her husband acquires, but her growing delusions see her confined in an asylum. As she recovers and is released a terrifying series of events is unleashed.

Reviews of this Book

‘★★★★ With a nod to Angela Carter, Thompson takes the myth of Bluebeard, the murdering husband who keeps a tally of his dead wives, sets it down in that Edwardian summer just before the guns of the First World War go off. It’s a superb settling for betrayal and revenge.’ —Lesley McDowell, The Independent on Sunday

‘★★★★ revel in the gothic darkness and inexorable drama’ —John Lloyd, The Bookbag

‘The precise Edwardian vocabulary began to assume a more contemporary feel in the wake of Violet’s treatment at the asylum, and this proved an interesting divergence from the general feel of the book. With flayed corpses, books covered with human skin, and raging madness, this is definitely worth checking out…’ —Raven Crime Reads

The Book Collector shows a wry and sly mind at work throughout. Scottish literature would be thinner without this kind of challenging and cleverly-wrought writing.’ —Stuart Kelly, The Scotsman

‘Alice Thompson, one-time keyboard player for Eighties band The Woodentops, is now an established novelist, who has won praise from Ian Rankin and Stephen King. The horror master would no doubt approve of this slim Edwardian-era gothic, too, recalling as it does both Rebecca and The Silence Of The Lambs.’ —Stephanie Cross, The Daily Mail

‘A brief, but substantial, horror story.’ —Lynsy Spence, The Lady

The Book Collector throws the essential elements of the gothic chiller into a blender and what emerges is something between pastiche and critique, in which its author never loses sight of the need to give her readers, first and foremost, an unputdownable yarn.’ —Alastair Mabbott, The Herald

‘With its gothic motifs, this dark portrait of a ‘fairytale’ marriage is full of mystery and suspense … an elegant and bloodily shocking entertainment.’ —Suzi Feay, The Guardian

Praise for Previous Work

‘Angela Carter crossed with the Scottish diffidence of Muriel Spark.’ —Ali Smith

‘A high-wire act of a novel. Try to resist it and you can’t.’ —Fay Weldon

‘Expertly combining compelling storytelling with a cleverly constructed, elegant and metaphor-ridden style.’ —Camilla Pia

‘Haunting, strange, Kafkaesque, poetic mystery.’ —Ian Rankin

‘A gothic music video of a novel that whirls with weirdness... madly energetic ... genuinely scary.’ —Stephen King

‘Fractured and lucid as a dream. Creepy and brilliant.’ —Ian Rankin

‘Thompson’s gripping narrative invites the reader to solve the mystery of Burnt Island and the true purpose of Max Long’s fellowship. A dark, compelling novel with strong themes of paranoia and strange eroticism throughout.’ —Lizzie Greenhalgh, The Lady

Burnt Island is steeped in self-awareness, as a book about the process and effect of writing might be. It seems connected by literary electricity to other tales of isolation: The Shining, Pincher Martin, The Sea, The Sea.’ —John Self, The Guardian

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