A long-lost friend is a stranger you think you know
Eden was its name. "An alternative school for happy children," said the brochure. "A load of hippies running wild in the woods," said the locals. After a suicide it closed its doors and the children scattered.
Thirty years later, it's a care home; its grounds neglected and overgrown, its only neighbour Gloria Harkness, who acts as tenant-caretaker in a rundown farmhouse to be close to her son. Nicky lives in the home, lighting up Gloria's life and breaking her heart every day.
Nicky and a ragbag of animals aren't enough to keep loneliness at bay, and when Gloria's childhood friend and secret sweetheart, Stephen "Stig" Tarrant, turns up at her door one night, all she can see is the boy she knew. She lets him in.
Stig's being stalked by an Eden girl, he says. She has goaded him into meeting her at the site of the suicide. Except that suddenly, after all these years, the dead are beginning to speak and suicide is not what they say.
When the children of Eden were sent out into the world they took a secret with them. And someone is making sure they take it to the grave.
Catriona McPherson is the best-selling and multi-award-winning author of over twenty crime novels, mostly set in her native Scotland. She now lives in California where she writes full-time.
Ian Rankin on his favourite books of the year: 'The Child Garden is a gripping thriller about a mystery at a New Age school and the murder of ex-pupils. It's tense, engaging and atmospheric, with a humane and believable central character' — New Statesman
A deliciously disturbing tale of deception and self-deception — Alex Marwood
Quite simply, McPherson is a terrific story teller — Ann Cleeves
If you like your thrillers twisty and twisted, then you will love The Child Garden' — Val McDermid
In her novels, Catriona McPherson spins webs of intrigue so beautiful and intricate she puts spiders to shame. With The Child Garden, she once again proves why she has rapidly become a star in the thriller genre. Her voice is seductive, her characters odd and engaging, her sense of place spot on, and I dare anyone to be able to predict where any of the story's dark but delightful twists are going to lead. This is a book you will absolutely devour — William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author
I loved this book so much I can barely speak. From page one, it's seamlessly told, beautifully original, and the voice, well, the voice is proof that Catriona McPherson is a powerful force and major talent in crime fiction. And the last page? I cried — Hank Phillippi Ryan, New York Times bestselling author
Deeply resonant, utterly original, compelling and satisfying, Catriona McPherson's The Child Garden is the work of a master - of character, tone, setting and plot - writing at the thriller-most top of her form — John Lescroart, New York Times bestselling author
Weaving strands of literary mystery, horror, and magical realism, The Child Garden is a twisting, now-you-see-it-now-you-don't tale about the ripple effect of tragedy. But the tremulous miracle at the heart of this novel is its heroine, Gloria Harkness, a phoenix rising from the ashes of a life that's tried to drag her down. When justice is meted out after long decades, you have the makings of a very satisfying mystery. When that justice brings with it a second chance at life, you have a book that will make any reader cheer — Jenny Milchman, Mary Higgins Clark award winning author
A warm-hearted character study that shivers with suspense — New York Times Book Review
'A delight . . . just the right mixture of spookiness and mystery' — James Oswald