The Crows: Reviews & CWs

‘There are books you can slip into like a blood-warm bath, stories you can luxuriate in, and The Crows is one of them.’ 

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Carrie Rickard, leaving an abusive relationship in London, tries to escape her own past by throwing herself into her restoration project: Fairwood House, known to locals of Pagham-on-Sea as The Crows. Unable to resist the lure of the house as it whispers to her, Carrie’s obsession only grows when she discovers it was the site of a sixty-year-old unsolved murder.

As Carrie digs deeper into the 1950s mystery surrounding the bloodless child stuffed up the kitchen chimney, she awakens dark and dangerous forces that threaten her own life. Cue an introduction to her eldritch neighbour, a foul-mouthed modern-day Merlin in a hoody and a tracksuit, who claims he can see the future. But Ricky Porter has some secrets of his own, not least of which are what’s really under his hood, and what he’s got in the cellar…

THE CROWS is a Gothic Paranormal novel for fans of haunted houses, eldritch monsters, and things that go bump in the night. Content Warning for psychological abuse, body horror, gore, strong language, and scenes of an unsettling nature.

All versions of the ebook feature three original illustrations by Thomas Brown, while the paperback version features five.

 From the very get-go, when the opening chapter’s subheading tells us that the novel’s protagonist Carrie Rickard has 33 days left to live, Rosens’ authorial control has a clockwork finesse to it, whilst her prose is exquisitely organic and vibrant.

Horrified Magazine Review 2021

Reviews of The Crows by other bloggers:
Horrified Magazine’s review Jul 2021Saved here as a .pdf file
Red Cape Publishing’s review May 2020 – mini review saved as image and text
Meredith Debonnaire’s review May 2020saved here as a .pdf file
Nimue Brown’s review Feb 2020saved here as a .pdf file

Other Reviews of The Crows:
Amazon Reviews
Goodreads Reviews

Reader Advisory/Content Warnings for The Crows:

This is a book full of Gothic Horror tropes, some mild eroticism (the sentient house is also eroticised in descriptions), and mental health issues depicted and explored in the context of abusive familial, platonic and romantic relationships. There are sex-positive characters but no on-page sex. There is no sexual assault, but there are scenes of boundary-crossing in a bedroom context and the pressurising of an asexual character questioning [his] levels of sexual attraction. There is recreational alcohol use and references/hints at recreational drug use and dealing (characters are positive, negative and neutral, variously). An alcoholic character relapses in the book with the encouragement of another character, and has his own point of view.

The following list is advisory not comprehensive: please take this as a general flavour/indicator of content and apologies if your specific trigger is present but has been missed. Reader discretion is advised.

– Character (without claustrophobia) is put in a claustrophobic situation
– Death, loss, bereavement throughout (including a dying elderly father)
– Physical and mental health deterioration, induced coma, dehumanisation of a coma patient
– Losing grip on reality, intrusive thoughts (inc. telepathic external ones causing confusion over sense of self, non-consensual messing with people’s heads, including the non-consensual removal of a memory in a physical pseudo-injection manner)
– Head injuries and blunt force trauma, both violent attack and accidental (on-page)
– Car crashes (one on-page, non-fatal ~ one reference to a historic, off-page, fatal, result of DUI)
– Disordered eating (male monstrous character)

– Domestic abuse (emotional and psychological m/f, male serial cheater and gaslighter) and toxic co-dependent family relationships (physical, psychological, emotional abuse, inc. beatings and poisoning) ~ resulting intrusive thoughts, negative spirals of thought patterns and behaviour
– Inbred monstrous family who are consensually and almost exclusively incestuous between siblings/cousins (hinted at, not explored, no cross-generational incest)
– Asexual character pressured/questioning sexual attraction – boundary-crossing in m/f context, both ways to various degrees
– Relapsing alcoholic character (encouraged by a manipulative maternal figure) and on-page POV drunkenness.
– References to past drug/alcohol abuse by another character now sober/teetotal.
– Dehumanisation of a coma patient
– Intimidation and brutal murder of elderly characters including one in a care home setting (not by staff or relatives)

– Historic murder of a child (brutal, ritual killing)
– Gore, mutilation, dismemberment, disembowelment, decapitation, exsanguination, torture and animal cruelty (historic/implied – a character is a soothsayer who reads entrails to see the future)
– Fire/Arson, immolation as cause of death
– Implied (consensual) sibling incest
– Supernatural horror, body horror, monster horror
– Threatened lobotomy by parasites
– Zombies/zombie abuse! [abduction of girls by abusive mother-figure, treating women/girls like dolls]