The Vanishing of Joni Blackwood

A brilliantly chilling and thrilling mystery debut novel

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Pub Date 18 Apr 2024 | Archive Date 28 Nov 2024

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Description

'An absolute page-turner, I'm actually on pins waiting for the story to unfold and my anxiety is through the roof. And what a jaw-swinging, heart-palpitating ending this book has, too!... An easy 5 star for me.' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

The debris from the party the night before is scattered underneath the village tree and across the cobbles. Red wine stains the ground like blood. And Joni has vanished.

Everyone in the village loves Joni Blackwood. She is beautiful and bold, and it's no surprise to anyone when on All Gallows' Eve, she is crowned Gallows Queen. After all, despite fierce competition from the charity-giving and churchgoing mothers in the village, she has won this honour five years in a row.

But this year, the morning after the All Gallows' Eve bonfire is not like the mornings before. This year, Joni is missing, the shower left running in her cottage.

When the next day, human remains are found in the church graveyard, everyone is quick to assume that the mystery of Joni's whereabouts has had a swift and deadly answer. But when it's revealed that the remains are the small bones of a baby from many years ago, it's clear that Joni's disappearance only marks the start of dark truths in the village coming to light.

If the remains aren't Joni's, did she vanish because she put them there? Or is she running because she knows who did?

The Vanishing of Joni Blackwood is an utterly compelling mystery with a twist you won't see coming. Perfect for fans of C J Tudor, Caroline Mitchell and Erin Kelly.

Read what everyone is saying about The Vanishing of Joni Blackwood:

'I absolutelyyyyyyy loved the atmospheric setting of the small village... And that final reveal? Wow! I didn't see it coming at all.🔥🔥🔥... You'll love this one. It's a real page-turner, and I can't wait to read more from Lisa Rookes' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

'Lisa Rookes has written a gem of a book. It's small town claustrophobia that bites in all the right places. A surefire five star read.' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

'I meannnnn I am currently jaw to the floor. I was not expecting that very end twist!!! This was such a wild ride and I honestly don't feel a review can do the twists and turns justice, you just need to go and read it... Small town... drama... it's got it all.' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐

'A crime fiction trope that I really, really love is a small town mystery... I was really shocked that this was a debut novel, it's got a very distinctive voice and the mystery is complex and develops in a really unexpected way. A brilliant set of characters, and the Northern setting of a small village near Sheffield was perfect for this storyline full of secrets and suspense.' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

'A page-turner from the first chapter... The author did a wonderful job describing relationships and their dynamics... Creepy, twisty... There are a lot of times that make you wonder if your predictions of what is going to happen next or who may not be the best person(s) are true... Cannot wait to read more from this author.' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

'I was hooked... It had everything that I was hoping for in the mystery element. It was a unique world... Lisa Rookes has a great writing style and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.' Reader Review, ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

'An absolute page-turner, I'm actually on pins waiting for the story to unfold and my anxiety is through the roof. And what a jaw-swinging, heart-palpitating ending this book has, too!... An easy 5...


Advance Praise

'For all the gothic thriller fans' Carly Reagon

'Creepy, dark and twisted!' Sharon Bolton

'For all the gothic thriller fans' Carly Reagon

'Creepy, dark and twisted!' Sharon Bolton


Available Editions

EDITION Ebook
ISBN 9781398716506
PRICE £9.99 (GBP)
PAGES 320

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Average rating from 23 members


Featured Reviews

EXCERPT “ You don’t have to believe me.
Just believe that I believe it”

This a debut horror thriller from Lisa Rookes told on dual timelines - Now being “All Gallows Eve” and then going back to the 90s when Joni, Cass, Kit, Tom and Pete were all teenagers and close friends growing up in a small village in Yorkshire. The Gallows Tree legend has it that the village has to sacrifice someone to the scarecrows in order for the crops to grow. The horror element is eerie and atmospheric and I loved the “ghost stories” and scares the teenagers told each other in the 90s.

Now 40, When Joni goes missing after being crowned Gallows Queen at the pagan festival the whole village is shocked, especially when the remains of a baby are found in the cemetery too. This is an absolute page turner, I’m actually on pins waiting for the story to unfold and my anxiety is through the roof. And what a jaw swinging, heart palpitating ending this book has too! This was an easy 5 star for me and I will be reading more of the authors work. I especially loved some of the sayings the characters used and the description of growing up as a teen in England in the 90s.

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I meannnnn I am currently jaw to the floor. I was not expecting that very end twist!!!
This was such a wild ride and I honestly don't feel a review can do the twists and turns justice, you just need to go and read it.
Small town, unlikeable characters, drama- its got it all.
My only 'negative' is that sometimes when we looked back on a memory in the 'now' chapter, it did just jump into it and that was confusing at first as there was nothing really separating it from the present. That could just be because it was an arc.

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Thank you Netgalley & Orion Publishing for an eARC ♥️

I absolutelyyyyyyy loved the atmospheric setting of the small village, where traditions and secrets run deep. The protagonist's search for their missing friend Joni is both heartwarming and heart-wrenching, and I found myself fully invested in their journey.

As the story unfolds, the author skillfully weaves together clues and red herrings, keeping me on the edge of my seat. And that final reveal? Wow! I didn't see it coming at all.🔥🔥🔥

If you're a fan of mysteries with a strong sense of place and a hint of the unknown, you'll love this one. It's a real page-turner, and I can't wait to read more from Lisa Rookes 👍🏽

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I was hooked from the cover and the description, It had everything that I was hoping for in the mystery element. It was a unique world that I was hoping for and thought the overall feel worked, I thought the idea of figuring out if Joni was murdered or a murderer. The characters felt like they were meant to belong in this world and glad I was able to read this. Lisa Rookes has a great writing style and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this.

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I’ve realised recently that a crime fiction trope that I really, really love is a small town mystery. Also, coming from Wales, which has a fantastic history of folk tales and mythology, I am also a huge fan of folklore and a bit of creepiness mixed in with a more traditional crime story and that is exactly what forms the basis of this novel.⁣

A group of childhood friends desperately try to figure out what has happened to Joni who goes missing after a local bonfire tradition All Gallows’ Eve. The split narrative takes us back to when the main characters were teenagers, trying to navigate the already tricky period of adolescence, whilst also dealing with absent parents, poverty and first loves and relationships.⁣

Sinister clues then start appearing in the present day which seem to link Joni’s disappearance to a tragic event from years earlier, and this threatens to unearth secrets they would rather keep hidden.⁣

I was really shocked that this was a debut novel, it’s got a very distinctive voice and the mystery is complex and develops in a really unexpected way. A brilliant set of characters, and the Northern setting of a small village near Sheffield was perfect for this storyline full of secrets and suspense.

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