Wow - what a fabulous book The Craftsman is, Sharon Bolton at her very best. A crime novel interwoven with the world of magic and superstition works so well set against the backdrop of the Pendle Hills, with its history of witch trials.

The novel opens with the funeral of the convicted serial killer Larry Glassbrook, and I defy anyone not to be a little spooked by the method of dispatch he chose to murder his teenage victims. I don't actually want to dwell on that too much because it brings me out in a bit of a sweat, so horrific is it, but thankfully the descriptions aren't overly graphic. The beauty of the area is brought to life, as is the shroud of mystery it possesses, and I got the real sense of it being written by someone who loves the area. I can't quite put my finger on why this came across, but it did to me.

Likewise the interest in the supernatural came through in droves. At first glance it is hard to see how the two threads of the story could work symbiotically, but they really do. The mystery comes alive to form a natural, established relationship with their surroundings, so that the two are given life by each other. The plot is crafted beautifully keeping me gripped and, in truth, desperate to keep reading it. On those irritating times I had to leave it, the story continued to weave its spell in my head. I will be completely honest and say I wasn't 100% satisfied with some aspects of the ending, but I did accept them as a relatively plausible outcome. My doubts about it though, in no way impacted on my enjoyment of the book which I'd be happy to read again tomorrow!

I could continue to waffle on and tell you that the characters are superb, that the book kept me guessing, that the year the story was set in added to the air of other-worldliness, but in fact there's really no need. The Craftsman is a super book - fans of Sharon Bolton will be cheering, and newcomers to her books will be in for a treat - totally recommended.