I am yet to read 'The Essex Serpent', which won the Fiction Book of the Year in 2017, but if 'Melmoth' is anything to go by then I should give it a read very soon.
Brimming with Gothic atmosphere and ceaseless unease, 'Melmoth' is a horror like no other. Helen Franklin is our central character who cannot forgive herself about something she did in her past. After a receiving a mysterious manuscript Helen is caught up in the unsettling legend of Melmoth the Wanderer. But is Melmoth after Helen too?
This a brilliantly dark and absorbing read. The descriptions of a wet and dismal Prague are enough to set your nerves on edge, but the lingering threat on every page could keep you awake at night. I read this in a couple of days, unable to tear my eyes from it. It reminds me of the Dracula detective story 'The Historian' by Elizabeth Kostova, but with greater nuance and suspense. If Hitchcock was still around, he'd likely pick this for his next feature: part film-noir, part psychological thriller.
Be warned. After reading this you might spend a week or so checking that no sinister shadow is stalking somewhere behind you, round a corner, under a streetlight.