Wish You Weren't Here
The Rooks Series
by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch
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Pub Date 7 Oct 2021 | Archive Date 16 Sep 2021
A fresh, fun, supernatural comedy by acclaimed author and TV scriptwriter. The bickering but loving Rook family run a little family business.
And things has picked up recently. Something’s wrong.
Bad spirits are abroad, and right now they're particularly around Coldbay Island, which isn’t even abroad, it’s only 20 miles from Skegness. The Rooks’ ‘quick call out’ to the island picks loose a thread that begins to unravel the whole place, and the world beyond.
Is this the apocalypse? This might be the apocalypse. Who knew it would kick off in an off-season seaside resort off the Lincolnshire coast? I’ll tell you who knew - Linda. She’s been feeling increasingly uneasy about the whole of the East Midlands since the 90s.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 48 members
In the book ‘Wish You Weren't Here’, the author has created another masterful piece of imaginative story-telling. Carrying on from where she left off in the `Darkwood` series, Gabby Hutchinson Crouch has put together a group of thoroughly outrageous and adorable characters.
The story unfolds as the Rook family are on the way to meet Grace Barry, the priest at St Catherines Church Coldbay Island. Grace has a problem with evil spirits causing damage to her Church. Things that go bump in the night have been going ballistic during the day. So, Grace calls (emails actually) the Rooks to professionally clean the place of unwanted visitors. But things are far from what they seem. Because the Rooks are far from your average family.
The father, Richard, has a dual personality, which does not mean he is schizophrenic. He just happens to be possessed by a friendly demon. He is called Murzzzz, and is the families security blanket. Murzzzz is definitely a demon to be reckoned with, and thankfully he is one of the good guys. Then there is mum, Brenda. The resident psychic of the family (although Daryll, the son, also has the gift). Brenda has a fondness for alcohol, but purely for medicinal purposes, yeah, right. Daryll is still learning the trade and is married to his husband Janusz, a Polish accountant who looks after the family finances. He usually has a good supply of Polish Jaffa Cakes, which taste of Cherries apparently. And that just leaves Charity, the adopted daughter, the dispeller of ghosts and demons alike. Otherwise, quite a nice girl, who likes chips, crisps and pizza.
The novels first-person narrator is an enigma, but that is solved as the narrative progresses. The descriptions of fight scenes are varied, vivid, and at times, extremely comical, verging on the slap-stick. Also, deadly serious when the need arises. The dialogue within is realistic and mostly profanity-free, so kudos to the author for that. The banter is your typical family tit-for-tat bickering, but it is good-natured and relatively harmless.
‘Wish You Weren't Here’ is not exactly intellectually stimulating, but then again, it is not meant to be. It is a humorous Fantasy fiction novel with a bit of Sci-Fi thrown in. The pace is steady but unrelenting, and you literally do not get a chance to rest before the action kicks off again. It makes for exciting and enthralling reading. I particularly like how the characters have depth and are well described, but they also have room for development. And as Mum and Dad are not in their first bloom of youth say, they will resonate better with older readers. (It is not just teens who can kick-ass.)
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch knows how to spin a yarn, and she has done it again with this well written and well-crafted tale. It is just a pity we have to wait for the next one in the series.
I really enjoyed ‘Wish You Weren't Here’, and recommend it as a fun ghostbusting sci-fi fantasy fiction book.
Thank you, NetGalley and Farrago Books, for the ADC of the book.
I didn't like it as much as the author's Darkwood series, but I am always more of fairytale girl. But it wasn't a bad book, it was a pure action, with a lot of fun. So if you are looking for something for a lazy evening, this is definitely your thing. Also, it shiows a great promise for next installments. I will continue with the series.
Wish You Weren’t Here is a funny, irreverent, and utterly enjoyable story about the Rook’s, a family of ghost hunters. I would describe it as a ghost buster vibe, but set in the seaside island of Coldbay. Also, the family use only their own natural abilities to see and move the ghosts along. No fancy equipment here. I enjoyed the family dynamics, especially with the addition of Murzzz and Janusz.. No matter how grim things seemed to get, the banter between this group kept the story humorous. The book is a quick read. The author has made this a group of quite flawed family and the individual issues and sibling jabs felt quite real.
This a fun book and I don’t think it takes itself too seriously. For me it was tone perfect. I hope this becomes a series because I would love to read more.
Thank you Netgalley and Farrago for the eArc
‘A lot of really bad things have happened in Coldbay. A lot-lot.’
Brenda, a clairvoyant, is married to Richard, who has his own stuff going on. They have two adult children. Darryl, also clairvoyant, loves his husband, Janusz. Charity, the human Ghostbuster trap, loves carbs. Janusz, who was once upon a time a client of the Rooks, loves spreadsheets as much as he loves his husband. Together the Rooks run a ghost hunting business.
“Clients contacted the Rooks because their kids were talking backwards or their cutlery kept flying at them or their walls were bleeding and they really quite wanted it to stop.”
The Rooks’ newest client is Coldbay Island’s local priest. They might have to do a little overtime on this job and that’s going to seriously mess with Janusz’s spreadsheet.
‘Here we are, and it’s positively crawling with ghosts.’
I enjoyed this book and will be continuing the series. However, fair or not, I couldn’t help comparing it to the Darkwood series, which I absolutely adored.
I loved all of the characters in Darkwood but I mostly just loved Janusz in this book. There was some humour in this book but, unlike Darkwood, my face doesn’t hurt from smiling almost the entire time I was reading. There was no Bin Night equivalent on Coldbay Island.
I would happily pass the Darkwood series along to a child. I wouldn’t do that with this book, if only because of the swearing.
I originally hoped for a sneaky Darkwood crossover, maybe with Trevor or perhaps a character more appropriate for this story like Patience. Until I saw Charity in action. Then I was glad Patience stayed in Myrsina.
Maybe it’s because I’m almost two months into lockdown here in Australia but a lot of what I’m reading at the moment reminds me of other things I’ve read or movies I’ve seen.
Something that happened to Janusz reminded me of one of my favourite scenes in Roald Dahl’s The Witches. The Rooks’ website’s “No spectral problem too big or too small” brought to mind Venkman’s “No job is too big, no fee is too big”. When the Rooks faced up against this book’s Big Bad, I couldn’t help thinking they could potentially solve all of their problems if they sourced some of the pink slime from Ghostbusters II, smeared it all over whatever the English equivalent of the Statue of Liberty is and sing happy songs to it.
There’s plenty of action in this book. The Rook family quickly became real to me and I’m keen to find out how individual family members are going to deal with the information that came to light while they were at Coldbay Island. This story doesn’t officially end on a cliffhanger but there are plenty of threads to tie together during the rest of the series.
Content warnings include alcoholism and mention of death by suicide, immolation and miscarriage.
Thank you so much to NetGalley and Farrago, an imprint of Duckworth Books, for the opportunity to read this book.
A new three book series for Gabby Hutchinson Crouch, following her highly entertaining Darkwood series. This series features the Rook family, who collectively work as ghost "cleaners", dealing with hauntings and other ghostly matters.
I really enjoyed the Darkwood series for its humour, distinctive characters and interesting story line. Wish You Weren't Here continues with all of these things. The comedy is excellently done with many laugh out load moments. The individuality of the characters is apparent right from the start, each personality is clearly drawn and the interactions of the family are superb. This book hits the ground running in terms of action and the pace doesn't flag at any point. This makes it a very quick and entertaining read.
There are many layers to the characters and glimpses of unresolved issues are hinted at throughout the story, promising more delightful revelations in remaining books in the series. I can't wait to read more.
situational-humor, verbal-humor, laugh-riot, contemporary, ya-only-means-no-gratuitous-erotica, LGBT, family-dynamics, ghosts, ghost-hunting, urban-fantasy, snark-fest*****
The Rook family is a real olio of characters! I'm not even going to try to summarize or hit the high points because I am so LOL,LMFAO and that's the biggest takeaway from reading this hilarity. Absolutely fantastic fun!
I requested and received a free temporary ebook copy from Farrago Books via NetGalley. Thank you!
Gabby has such a fun style of writing! Initially, this book gave me the spoons, then it turned into a hilarious tale of the Rooks.. a quirky family of clairvoyants, demon hunters, and even a demon. They squabble and pick on each other, but at the end of the day, fight the otherworldly beings putting the world in danger together as a family.
This was such a good book! The characters stay with you long after you finish the book and I loved all the twists and turns. My first time to read a book by this author but I cannot wait to read more!
𝚀𝙾𝚃𝙳: Does this story end with death?
𝗖𝗪: 𝗮𝗹𝗰𝗼𝗵𝗼𝗹𝗶𝘀𝗺 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝘀𝘂𝗶𝗰𝗶𝗱𝗲
In 2016, the community in Coldbay Island is a ghost-inhabited island. The Rooks Family are psychic cleaners. They are far from your average family. Each member of the family has natural abilities to collect evidence supporting the ghost hunting activities. Reverend Grace Barry, a vicar at St. Catherine Church, booked them for spiritual cleansing.
The synopsis of the book caught my attention. It made me thought that this was about a supernatural horror comedy adventure trope. What was the verdict? 🤔
Well, it did not disappoint my reading experience. There was plenty of action. It was fun to follow the quest of the group from one chapter to another. The family dynamics were enjoyable. They had banters in the middle of the intense scenes, which has made the reading process more satisfying. The writing style of the author in horror and comedy dominance was well-balanced.
Overall, I enjoyed the book. I am interested to continue the series. I would recommend this for young adults who like supernatural fantasy, adventure and/or with LGBT characters
Special thanks to @netgalley and to the publisher, Farrago Books to enjoy this eARC. All thoughts and review are my own.
When reading reviews you want to cut to the chase - I enjoyed this book. It’s escapism with witty dialogue and some great characters. A plot that zips by and does not take itself seriously. A book you can read in a day and sit back with ‘yeah, that was fun, what next?’
It’s a story of, well, exorcists? Ghost hunters? Family dynamics? All of those mixed together with humour and enough mystery to keep the novel going. The only issue is one that kicks in around the final 3rd with the ‘big bad’ of the novel. Personally, I found its reveal a little confusing, however, this is the first in a series so hopefully it’s explained a lot more in the next book.
Ultimately, it’s a recommendation from me - a palate cleanser from those heavy novels you have lying on the bedside table. Fun times to be had here.
Ok, I must admit I was not sure what to expect with this one, but ended up really enjoying it. Mom and dad, and brother and his husband and adopted sister are sent to clean up a ghostly church on a remote area by the sea. Mom and brother can see ghosts, the adopted sister can capture and send ghosts to another plane. Dad has a friendly demon inside that he can pull up at will, and the husband is the keeper of the accounts. Lots of banter and playfulness, as well as a mixture of seriousness. There is an open hell-hole after all, which is not fun. When dad's demon is scared that is not a good sign. Fast paced story and one that was hard to put down. First I've read by this author and will not be my last. Highly recommend this book and author.
From the first sentence I knew I would love this book. The tone totally resonated with me, that darkish humour is totally up my alley and made it a whole lot of fun throughout. I loved the tightness of this family, which is only composed of adults, the youngest I don’t think is under thirty, But they work together at their spiritual cleansing business, and as dysfunctional as they are individually, there are brilliant as a lot. Absolutely loved the banter, and totally want to read the rest of this new series. This is a light quick read, think Sean of the dead vibe. Total entertainment, no convoluted plot, probably a bit too much explanation for things that were more than hinted at, at the end, But I’m totally on board, and really look forward to the rest. I will also go looking for the other books from the author and do highly recommend.
Creepy things are unfolding on Coldbay Island. Good thing the comical and merry Rooks family are ready for the challenge when the priest summons them for help. Humor, excellent banter, and lots of entertaining action keeps this story interesting. Serious Ghost Buster vibes, a touch of slapstick comedy, and a family willing to stick it out together whatever comes their way. A fun book that doesn’t take itself too serious is perfect to usher in the new fall creepy reads.
Thank you NetGalley and Farrago for the ARC in exchange for my honest review.
This is the first book on the Rooks, and it serves its purpose: it introduces the characters, but, by the end, you really want to read book two to learn more about them.
The family has five (six) members, dad Richard (and the demon who possesses him, Murzzzz), mom Brenda, son Daryll and his Polish husband Janusz, and daughter Charity.
Together, they travel to a nearby island to find reverend Grace Barry, whose church seems to be having some other wordly issues, namely,spirits that throw things around. It seems like an easy project, in and out, until they discover it's not, and whatever is going on on that island brings out some carefully hidden family secrets.
I did enjoy this book, it was fast-paced and funny. Janusz was, by far, my favorite character.
Thanks NetGalley for my ARC of this book.
The Rooks are a family of ghostbusters, they are called out to Coldbay Island to sort out a small problem for Reverend Grace Barry, an invisible presence is continuously wrecking her vestry, all her good China had been ruined. So far so simple but all is not what it seems in eerily deserted Coldbay larger forces are at work and it turns out Coldbay is not the kind of hellhole you were expecting.
This series has all the hallmarks of Crouch’s Darkwood series but it’s pitch is a little darker in tone, none of the family are particularly charming except for Janusz who married in and so doesn’t count. They are however entertaining and absolutely riddled with issues, they are darkly funny and I love a bit of bickering it reminds me of my own family. Janusz, naturally, is the best our very own Polish Disney Prince who does the admin. It’s no wonder they all love him, I mean he remembers to bring the biscuits.
Well that was an adorable and fun tale about ghosts and demons! The Rook family is so much fun and I truly enjoyed this book. Looking forward to the next one. Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this copy
I’m just going to say right here and now, I am going to love everything Gabby ever writes. I can tell. She was well on the way to New Favourite Author status with the Darkwood series and now she has cemented it with Wish You Weren’t Here! I am SO glad there are going to be more books in this series! I am SO far from done with the Rooks!
In the Darkwood series, Gabby had me fall in love with a spider. Yes, arachnophobic me. This time she had me shedding tears over a demon. I mean, if that doesn’t show some damn fine writing, I don’t know what does.
The Rook family have varying degrees of psychic abilities, except Darryl’s husband Janusz. He’s the accounting whizz. Mum Brenda and son Darryl can see the ghosts, daughter Charity can send them on their way, and dad Richard, well, he’s host to a terrifying demon, who is part of the family. When a routine ‘cleansing’ for a client, of a church that’s being trashed by ghosts an alarming amount of times, goes wrong, the family need to pitch in together to try and save the town.
I absolutely loved every one of the members of this family and Darryl and Janusz are couple goals. Brilliant banter, ghostbusting and family secrets that can make even the most serious situation rather awkward, Wish You Weren’t Here was an action packed, super fun ride from beginning to end! I am dying for book 2 already!
Fun And Frolics..
Meet The Rooks! This family are certainly dysfunctional but, more than that, they run a business in ghost hunting. Fun and frolics abound in this fast and funny first encounter. Entertaining and enjoyable, doesn’t take itself too seriously and with a colourful and eccentric cast of characters. A promising start to a new series.
Wish You Weren't Here was so much fun! Ghostbusters but with a quirky family. Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is a wonderful writer. Her characters were super great. Paranormal-comedy-horror is my new favorite combination and she nails it!
Well, that was rather more body horror than I expected from lovely Gabby Crouch!
I very much enjoyed the Darkwood series and have been known to chase customers around to get them to try it (not really; I did follow one, but we were going to the till for her to pay, so...) This is rather darker and more grown up, and I'm not sure I'd give it to kids the same way. It's still funny, but not every-other-second funny.
There's some very clever story telling here, and bits of language that made me think 'this is absolutely Gabby.' I did kind of feel like I'd dropped into the middle of the story at the start, but as it went on things started to fall into place. I was a little confused by parts of the ending, but I'm sure they'll be cleared up in the next installments (which I can't wait to read. Is this a trilogy, does anyone know?)
Fantastic, clever, funny, not really spooky - maybe creepy? - read, with a great hook for the next part. I can't wait.
Wish You Weren’t Here is a fun, ghostbusting romp set on the very haunted fictional Lincolnshire Coldbay Island. The Rooks, a family of ghost hunters, have been called in by the local vicar to deal with some weird goings on in the church and end up dealing with more than they bargained for.
An entertaining, humorous read with engaging characters. I’ll be looking out for the second book in the series.
Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
Wish you weren't here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is action-paced, fantasy horror fiction and interesting characters that you cannot help but love.
Freak occurrences are happening in the seaside town of Coldbay. Things are being thrown into air, town is becoming dead and toilets are being thrown in the Church of Coldbay. Tired and Scared Reverend Grace calls "special cleaners" that helps cleaning Ghosts.
Enter the Rooks family, Richard Rook and his clairvoyant wife Brenda, who seems to have drinking problem and also think something is off with the world since year 2016. Their lovely son Darryl who inherited the clairvoyant qualities of her mother and his husband Janusz who does accounts and is real sweetheart. And amazing ghostbuster of adopted daughter Charity who is fond of Carbs. Frankly, who isn't fan of carbs!? And there is our friendly demon Murzzzz.
As the Rooks family try to help the Reverend meanwhile uncovering secrets of their own existents, they starts to discovering much larger problems, more ghosts and demons. The Rooks soon enough realise that there are much much bigger force behind the misery of town and there is no escaping from it but getting through it and ghost-clean the entire town.
The writing flows in this fiction, All the characters are excellent, quirky, flawed and interesting. Here, Murzzzz deserves an honorary mentions and I cannot wait to read more of Murzzzz and the Rooks. The entire plot and the unknown narrator had me guessing from the very first page.
Wish You Weren’t Here by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is an unusual story about The Rook family who are ghost hunters. The story is fast paced and the writing is certainly amusing with incredibly funny descriptions which are almost out of this world! This is a great read, one that will take you away from your own reality into another realm of demons, ghost and everything else that is scary and almost unbelievable. While performing their ghost hunting strategies we learn about each of the characters and they are amazingly unreal but at the same time utterly believable.
If you’re looking for a fresh story where you are immersed into another world then this one is recommended for you.
Thank you to Netgalley and publisher Farrago books for a copy to read and review.
It's an excellent mix of humour and horror with a good dose of horror and a lot of fun.
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch delivers an entertaining story, entertaining and gripping.
The Rook are a lot of fun, quirky and fleshed out. The setting is quite creepy and it's perfect for a horror novel.
I expected something lighter but I loved it even if it wasn't a good idea starting it before going to sleep.
I look forward to reading other stories featuring these characters.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
The Rooks travel the country, eliminating ghosts. They are a family, and their latest contract is at the church at Coldbay Island in England. Spending even a little time with family makes it obvious that their dynamic isn't the healthiest, with mother Brenda always looking for her next drink, father Richard pacifying any arguments, son Darryl never being taken seriously, and adopted daughter Charity often saying things just to be contrary or get a rise out of Darryl. Rounding out their family is the utterly sweet and kind Janusz, Darryl's loving husband.
The family arrives at the church to find Reverend Grace Barry hiding outside, while something takes the inside apart. Working quickly, the Rooks each play a part in figuring out what's going on, and dealing with it.
Unfortunately, instead of the nice and easy single ghost/poltergeist they expected, it turns out it's multiple ghosts and demons. (Did I forget to mention Richard has a rather intimate understanding of demons?)
Things go from bad to worse, to even worse, to really terrible pretty quickly, with the Rooks finding the island deserted, and oh, a little something with truly dire implications for the island. And for the Rooks.
Once I got accustomed to the family dynamic, I could see that though there were some amusing things going on (Charity's constant need for her Chosen One moment and hope for a superhero origin story), there were some real problems with Brenda's need to overindulge in alcohol and consequent behaviour, and no one taking Darryl's sensible suggestions seriously.
I did enjoy this fairly short book; the action is frequent, and I kind of loved Janusz, and how much he and Darryl were in love with each other, even after being together for years. Charity becomes more interesting as the story evolves, and learning how she was adopted was pretty tragic. And Murzzzz! Yeah, he's a demon, but something about his and Richard's relationship just made me smile, and then hurt a lot for Richard. Though I didn't really like Brenda at the outset, I was able to understand her a little better as the book progressed, and it became clearer what she had been living with all her life – I'd probably have taken to drink myself if I had had to deal with the same!
I also liked the narrator who injects their view on the proceedings periodically – I loved the mystery of this person and why they had the perspective they did on the family.
I liked Grace a lot, and her strange, growing understanding of the evolving dangerous situation on the island was curious, evoking questions in me and the Rooks, hopefully to be answered in the next book. Which I want to read!
Thank you to Netgalley and Farrago Books for this ARC in exchange for my review.
A pleasant surprise- at least to me since I haven't read the author's earlier works. The Rook family- a family of ghostbusters,- find more than they bargained for when they take on the case of a priest on a creepy island. Creepy yes but funny too. This is less about the ghosts (and demons etc) than it is about the family and their relationships. It seemed initially as if there were too many characters but that wasn't a worry for long as each is distinct. Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC, A fun entertaining read.
The motley Rook family is the premiere ghost exorcising outfit in England. Called upon to work in a remote island church stretches their talents to the maximum.
The author relies on humor and the book is a fun read. Let's see what happens in the next one.
I received an ARC. I am leaving my honest review.
Gabby Hutchinson Crouch does it again! I loved "Wish You Weren't Here". The opening chapter had me hooked with such a clever way of introducing the premise and the wonderfully constructed characters made me fall in love with all of them. My only complaint is that it felt like it was over too soon and I found myself desperately wanting more! Roll on Book 2!
The storyline kept me glued to my Kindle through the whole book! I definitely recommend reading this book! Its well worth reading! Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for sharing this book with me!
As a fan of the Darkwood series, I was really keen to read this book. Gabby Hutchinson Crouch delivers a dark tale of a ghost hunter family with her usual witty irreverence. The story of The Rook family in action is very much that - pure action. The concept is amazing and face-paced and the action is totally enjoyable. The only drawback is that I really didn't like The Rook family at all - Janusz (married to one of the Rook adult-children) is really likable, but not truly a Rook. The others all seem to have so many flaws, with no redeeming features between the lot of them. Despite that, the action definitely keeps you reading and I am hoping that my like of the Rook family will develop more in the next installment of their adventures, because Gabby Hutchinson Crouch is truly a talented writer.
Wish You Weren't Here is the first book in an urban fantasy mash-up series by Gabby Hutchinson Crouch. Released 7th Oct 2021 by Farrago, it's 240 pages and is available in paperback and ebook formats. It's worth noting that the ebook format has a handy interactive table of contents as well as interactive links. I've really become enamored of ebooks with interactive formats lately.
This is a completely bonkers full-bore action UF comedy which reminds me of the comedy/horror aspects of Buffy and Supernatural, but not derivative at all and with its own British self-deprecating humour. The ensemble crew of ghost hunters are fundamentally a family with the rich comedic possibilities that entails, alongside each having their own particular talents (clairvoyant, telekinetic, possessed by ancient mostly benignly cooperative demon, accountant, etc). The world building is by turns complex and comedic including an apocalyptic fight in an abandoned Tesco store on a possessed island.
The humour relies heavily on sight gags and slapstick, but happily, the author's up to the task of writing quite cinematically, so it never drags or bogs down. The entire book is a potty, very trippy, out of control end-of-the-world extravaganza. The author even manages some sly foreshadowed twists which she ties up into a satisfying denouement and resolution.
I've been a fast fan of her Darkwood series, and this is both a departure with different settings and themes, but also resonant with the same bouncy repartee and humour as her other series (but alas, no Trevor the spider to liven things up here).
This book includes positive representation of LGBTQIA+ relationships, family/sibling relationships, British (and Polish) pluck and esprit de corps and I frankly loved it to bits. I'm waiting on tenterhooks for more. It's weird and funny and wonderful. It might require readers to be in a particular mood for fantasy humour, but otherwise is very well written, immersive, and engaging.
Four and a half stars. More, please.
Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher for review purposes.
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