Christopher Edge is quickly becoming one of my favourite contemporary children's authors. I was fortunate enough to review an advance copy of 'The Longest Night of Charlie Noon' and it is still probably the best book I've read in 2019. I cannot help but devour his stories and he seems to open up my imagination in quite a startling and exciting way that truly inspires me. Thanks to the fabulous Nosy Crow, I am now lucky to have received copies of his 'Twelve Minutes to Midnight' trilogy which have been reprinted with brilliant new covers. And I'm so glad they are going to get renewed attention because I absolutely loved this first book. Creepy, imaginative and with a heroine quite like no other, 'Twelve Minutes to Midnight' is thrillingly and daringly fantastic.
It is 1899 and the dawn of the twentieth century. Penny Tredwell is the owner and secret author of the magazine 'The Penny Dreadful'. Under the guise of the actor Montgomery Flinch, Penny is asked to help unravel a mystery at the Bedlam madhouse. Every night, at twelve minutes to midnight, patients rise and scrawl strange messages that seem to allude to the impossible and the weird. Can Penny solve the mystery while keeping her true identity intact?
'Twelve Minutes to Midnight' spins the supernatural, the macabre and a restless Victorian Britain into a wonderful web of a story. This is atmospheric, spine-tingling and gripping stuff. I really couldn't help but fly through the pages. There are moments of sheer terror and creepiness that I'd recommend the producers of Doctor Who hiring Christopher Edge! This has the feel of a classic Victorian era episode, with Penny Tredwell as a fantastic 'who is she' heroine: strong, smart and courageous. Edge is a master of ideas, pushing to the 'edges' of his plots with such a sense of fun and intelligence that his books are simply unputdownable. I really admire his craftsmanship and love the twists and turns of his stories. His writing has a special quality that marks him out from the crowd - perhaps he is a secret spider scrawling away at night! Be prepared to get caught in his web.
If you haven't read this, do so now! If you are already a fan of the likes of 'Albie Bright', 'Maisie Day' and all, you will find Penny's adventures different but in a really exciting way. This is one of my favourite books of the year, and that's saying something!
Thanks to Nosy Crow for the copy to review.