Cover Image: The Slaughter Man

The Slaughter Man

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Member Reviews

Willow has lost her twin sister; Laurel. She cannot cope with her family, so she moves to her Uncle's cabin to try and find a way to cope. 
It's an amazing story about grief and finding a way to cope. I enjoyed it a lot. Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
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A gentle and often slow-motion account of Willow's struggle after her identical twin sister unexpectedly dies. The tone is dreamlike - even in the sections where Willow is awake - and the evocation of place hypnotic. I wasn't sure that it quite knew whose story it wanted to tell. My heart was caught completely by the mixed-up Luca. The other main characters - Willow's Uncle Joe, their mother earth neighbour Katherine and the Slaughter Man of the title - were somehow transparent.
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Willow is grieving the death of her twin sister. She has nightmares and is mute because of this trauma. She goes to stay with her uncle and finds her dreams taking on a surreal quality where she can't tell dream from reality. She gets involved with another local troubled teen, Luca and they seem fatally attracted to each other, even though they have nothing much in common. There is a local misfit who is a threatening and bizarre character who gets entwined in Willows dreams and night wanderings. 

The story, while a thriller/horror story in the surface is very much a story about the grief and losses that all the characters are suffering from. It is very intense and difficult to emotionally process at times but a very worthwhile read.
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Fascinating read. A story about grief and what Willow goes through after the death of her twin sister Laurel. How she deals with her grief, and survivors guilt, is unique to her and as a part of her healing process she goes to live with her Uncle Joe, to see if a change of scenery will help.    The experiences she has, as well as the people she meets, while staying at her Uncle Joe’s help her to navigate the grieving process while learning who she is to become as a person. 

Thank you NetGalley, Cassandra Parkin and Legend Press, Ltd.  for this advanced reader edition and hearing my honest review. Looking forward to reading more with you
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Engrossing, beautifully written, and haunted through and through.  It's a great read that takes you on an emotional ride through a young girl's devastating heartbreak. She slowly realizes she is surrounded by many broken people and that sometimes surviving and living is the answer.
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Seventeen-year-old Willow Tomms has just lost her identical twin sister. Her world is irrevocably changed. Not only were they womb mates, they had shared everything in their lives - including their face.

"They belong together, and their sudden cleaving into separateness has made a wrong place in her soul that will never, ever heal."

Now, the trauma of losing her sister has rendered Willow mute. Her voice is lost along with her sister Laurel. She suffers from debilitating social anxiety. She is loathe to look into mirrors because the face that stares back at her is that of her sister. Sometimes she is unsure who she is. Which is the live sister and which is the dead? Willow thinks she wants to die - to join her sister.

Willow has troublesome and frightening nightmares in which she see's Laurel, sometimes at Laurel's funeral. Except in her dreams the people all have bird heads...

Her parents are finding it horrendously difficult as well. Every time they gaze at Willow they are reminded of the daughter they so recently lost...

They hatch a plan to send Willow off to live for a short while at Willow's Uncle Joe's house. Hopefully there Willow can heal and Joe will have some company.

Though supportive, loving, and kind, Joe has deep seated troubles of his own - though he is secretive about this to Willow so as not to upset her further...

Willow meets the woman farmer next door who has a teenage foster son named Luca. Luca, who is around Willow's age, is in trouble with the law. They strike up a strange friendship.

Also... Willow wanders at night barefoot through the nearby forest. It is here that she encounters the scary man who lives alone there.

They call him "The Slaughter Man".

"They tried to tell us we were different people, but we both knew better. We're the same. We have one heart between us. And that's why we're both broken."


My first acquaintance with the writing of Cassandra Parkin came about when I read her novel "Underwater Breathing". The second work of hers I read was "The Winter's Child". I was so impressed by both of those that I've come to realize that I will endeavor to read everything she has written - as time permits.

The cover of "The Slaughter Man" might lead a prospective reader to think that they were about to read a horror novel or a thriller. They would be incorrect. Although Cassandra Parkin's books have elements of other genres, they are all well-rendered literary fiction. "The Slaughter Man" is no exception.

This is a novel about the many facets of grief. Sounds like a downer you say?  No, that was not the case here. Though I'm a crier, this novel did not make me weep. On reflection, I believe it was because the entire story had a subtle underlying feel of hopefulness.

The surreal nature of Willow's dreams added much to the overall narrative. Also, the setting was rich in detail and easily imagined.

Memorable due to its fully fleshed-out characters, "The Slaughter Man" tells us what all good literary fiction tells us. It speaks to the human condition and how we are all an amalgam of emotions - despair vying with hope on a daily basis. This novel reaffirms the advice that we all must attempt to find as much joy as we can.

Highly recommended!
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Actual rating: 3.5 stars

This book was appropriately creepy. Although from the synopsis it seemed like the slaughter man would be some sort of actual nightmarish/paranormal entity, I still thought parts of the book were disturbing. I liked the dream sequences, and I was surprised a few times by the brutality of the story, especially concerning Luke's traumatic past and Willow's self-harm scene.  They honestly took me aback, although I think in the end they did contribute to the story. 

The ending was ambiguous, which I have mixed feelings about. On the one hand, I do like that there's no clear ending for Willow. It did seem as if she was on her way to recovery, and her assumptions about the slaughter man could finally be put to rest. On the other hand...who knows for sure? I really didn't like the relationship between Luke and Willow, though. It seemed like the author was sort of pairing them together, and then other times it didn't seem likely. Luke's behavior was textbook abusive and honestly alarming, so I really didn't understand why Willow should be in a relationship with someone who was so obviously unhinged, and this romantic (ish?) aspect took away from the story, for me. But overall I did enjoy the book, and the author's writing was really phenomenal!
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All I can say is WOW. This book caught my attention right away and attached me right to the main character. It's nice to be able to have a character that you can relate to on some level and Cassandra Parkin does just that. The book is written in a way that you never really see what is coming and it pulls at you after each chapter. The Slaughter Man really keeps you on your toes! Highly recommend.
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This book made me cry. It's so raw, heartfelt and poignant as it lets you inside the mind of Willow, a young girl suffering with extreme grief. She's lost her sister. This is a tough read. A lyrical one and the writing is beautiful even if at times I thought it was a YA read. VERY emotional. A bit too much emotion about grief and death for me I'm afraid. I struggled to read it as it touched too many nerves. That should perhaps warrant a high score but I can't say I loved a book that made me feel so down. A powerful read though!
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This book woo’ed me - I practically devoured it in one session I thought it was going to be completely different from what it actually turned out to be.
The Slaughter Man is a beautifully written, intense, heartbreaking solid read.

Essentially it’s about grief, that of Willow the main character whose twin sister Laurel has recently died.
Through grief - Willow can no longer speak and her family, her mother and father are struggling with their own loss, decide that a change of scenery and location - staying with her uncle Joe might help her to open up and be a teenager again.

As Willow has stopped speaking, the reader is the only person who can actually understand what’s going on in Willows head, what she imagines saying if her voice was not closed because of emotion is narrated on paper.

Once she has unpacked at her Uncles she goes to explore through her bedroom door which leads directly to the outside. There are signs everywhere “No Trespassing” “Private Property” - clearly wanting to feel something to alleviate the numbness of grief she ignores them - of course she does and hides away as the Slaughter Man shows himself.

I can’t tell you much more about him without spoiling it for you.

She also meets Luca another troubled soul who is staying at the nearby farmhouse - he immediately tells her in his own words he is dangerous and as their friendships grow - so did their stories.

When the reveal came at the end re Luca’s issues I hadn’t guessed correctly and was hoping more to unravel - now they had connected. We simply ran out of book.

As the novel progresses Willows real life and her dreams are her minds attempts to deal with grief, the unsaid, the unfinished. The dreams are in her head very real and can be disturbing. They are vivid and leave you totally drawn into the scene.

With the subject matter of intense grief you would think it’s a difficult read but somehow it isn’t and leaves you feeling for the characters as they retract into their own darkness.

What a writer Cassandra Parkin is - unique, excellent, well paced and definitely up there with my favorites this year.

It’s a emotion filled book that grabbed my attention when I was least expecting it. Such a different style of writing creating a story that stays in your head for days afterwards.
I highly recommend this author and book.

Thank you Net Galley for this advanced review copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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I loved this book. The raw, poignant unapologetic struggle and pain  in most of the characters was beautifully written. I was not expecting the ending at all but it really added another layer to the way I viewed Willow’s grief and mental state. A really special book.
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Cassandra Parkin is a new author (to me) and I was intrigued by the premise of this book as soon as I read the blurb.  There is no doubt that this book is beautifully written, yet it wasn’t quite the creepy read I was expecting; there is an underlying sadness and morose mood throughout.

The book is peppered with dream sequences which I found both fascinating and disturbing; quite a novel way to tell a story, making it both eery and heartbreaking.

I enjoyed getting to know Willow, the main protagonist.  I found her situation with the death of her twin to be utterly devastating.  At times, I found this to be quite a difficult read; mature themes are dealt with throughout and there is also some graphic description of self harming.  That said, Parkin dealt with each of these themes sensitively and managed to tell a haunting yet hopeful tale.

The Slaughter Man, is a gripping read but definitely not one for the faint hearted!
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The Slaughter Man by Cassandra Parkin was a beautifully written book and portrays grief in such a raw and powerful way that will touch your heart. I have never read anything from this author and it wont be my last. I will be looking out for her books now......Just Beautiful!
Willow is seventeen and loses the most important person in her life who she loves dearly, her twin sister Laurel. Every night she has nightmares that haunt her and has to learn how to cope to live with out her rock and soul sister by her side. Willow's uncle Joe is worried about her and offers her a change of scenery. He offers to to take her away and stay in a cottage away from everything around her. Uncle Joe's cottage is beautiful and has forest all around it. However, the forest is full of secrets. 

What is Uncle Joe hiding from Willow?

Can Willow handle all the secrets she will find?

Then, Lucas arrives in her life – troubled, angry and with a dangerous past. 

Who is he?

What events have brought Lucas to her door? 

And who is the Slaughter Man who steals through Willow’s sleep?

WoW, what a book....I just loved it and didn't want it to end.

Big Thank you to Legend Press for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review
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Having read and enjoyed most of this author's other books, I was thrilled to be given the opportunity to sample The Slaughterman. Sadly, I really struggled to engage with this particular storyline. Yes, it was beautifully written once again but the plot seemed muddled and lacked direction so that I very quickly lost interest.
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I’ve read all this author’s books and enjoyed them, but this one just didn’t do it for me.
I found it a bit slow but I will look out for the author’s future books.
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On this the interesting side this story shows the grief you have at the loss of a very close on in its rawest form. It's got more of a snoozefest side......slow paced and confusing.
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Let me start by saying that I absolutely loved Parkin's previous books, and was very excited to get my hands on this one! Sadly, it wasn't a good fit for me. Whilst it started out strong and I found Willow's grief very touching and well portrayed, which invested me immediately in the story and her character, it all fell apart for me when Luca made an appearance. His character was such an odd fit! I felt like the interactions between Willow and Luca were stilted and sometimes even made me cringe, and the whole story took on the style of a YA novel. I felt at this point that my interest was slipping. Even though the slaughter man had me intrigued at first, he became like a marginal character in the Willow and Luca show, rather than the creepy figure he could have been.

I concede that this story just wasn't for me at this time, but look forward to reading more from the author in future. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to read and review this book.
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I'm surprised by the amount of negative reviews this easy to read thriller novel had received because it really wasn't all that bad. Sure it's not great since there were a little more than a few flaws that I disliked but the authors writing style allowed the story to run smoothly and emotionally driven storyline that showcased the reality of grief impressed me greatly. I loved the dynamic between Lucas and Willow, and how he pushed her towards the end. I will notate that I wasn't exactly impressed with the ending which left me with a lot of unanswered questions but despite that, it was an overall decent mystery thriller.
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After starting this and reading other negative reviews, I’ve decided to skip this one and move on to other books that appeal to me more.
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This was a surprisingly great read.  I thought it was going to be only ok, but it actually had a lot of emotional depth and kept me engaged.  I highly recommend it!
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