YOU LET ME IN / AUTHOR: CAMILLA BRUCE / PUBLISHER: BANTAM PRESS / RELEASE DATE: 5TH MARCH
Cassandra Tipp has disappeared. 74 years old. A successful romance novelist. Her entire life she’s been considered severely mentally ill, following the gruesome murder of her husband whose various body parts were found flung around the woodlands. Except for his heart. Pepper-Man, the imaginary suitor who had inhabited her husband’s body for so many years, needed to eat the heart to make the deception work. But of course, Pepper-Man is just another story Cassandra made up to conceal her guilt. After all, no-one has an imaginary lover who’s fed off their blood since childhood and takes them regularly into the world of faerie. No-one has birthed a child who is half-mortal/half-faerie and harbours a resentment that explodes into such awful, calculated violence. Because Cassandra’s husband wasn’t the only one to die and faeries aren’t real. Faeries don’t slaughter.
Except they are and they do. When Cassandra’s niece and nephew read the manuscript she’s left behind, they’ll find out everything. And they must read it, because there’s a password buried somewhere inside the text that gives them the right to inherit Cassandra’s estate. But Cassandra’s life is far more brutal and extraordinary than any of her estranged family members suspected, and inheriting the estate will also mean inheriting something that’s far less welcome.
You Let Me In is a bewitching slice of folk horror and fairy story disguised as a sensitively-written psychological thriller. It’s hard to believe this is Camilla Bruce’s debut novel because she juggles every facet of this tale so incredibly well, effortlessly combining the two states of human and faerie, keeping us guessing almost until the very end - was Cassandra Tipp a madwoman, or did everything she claims really happen? Even at the end she leaves the reader with choices and a sense of foreboding about what may lie ahead for Cassandra’s beneficiaries. This is beautiful writing: dense, intense and atmospheric. Pepper-Man is a wonderfully slick creation, brimming with nightmare and yet possessing more humanity than most of the humans populating Cassandra’s life. These are not faeries as you’ve ever imagined them, and you’ll never walk through the woodlands in quite the same way again.
Whatever you do, don’t step on a mound.