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Friday 19 April 2024

Rachel's Random Resources Book Tour: Shadow of the Witch by Colin Garrow

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About the Book
Shadow of the Witch
London, 1677. A house with a dark secret. A lawyer in pursuit of magick. A witch, dead for fifty years.

Israel Cutler, dealer in second-hand goods, discovers the journals of Doctor Winter. Detailing the doctor’s relationship with a hanged witch, he recognises an opportunity. Seeking out a lawyer he knows with an interest in the occult, Cutler tries to sell the journals, but soon finds himself involved in a terrifying ritual—one that could bring black witch Lizzie Pickin back from the dead. Again.

Forced into a dangerous partnership, the witch leads Cutler on a trail of murder and revenge.

In this horror series set in London, Shadow of the Witch is book #2 in the Black Witch Saga.

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Read An Excerpt

In her quest to hunt down Edward Winter, Lizzie Pickin has ‘sniffed out’ her prey. Following her directions, Cutler guides the horse and cart along the track…


The house is fully visible now—a tiny stone-built dwelling with a shack to the rear. There’s no smoke from the chimney. With luck, the occupant will be out. But then, if Winter has any sense, he’ll know lighting a fire will only attract attention. Perhaps he’s sitting there now, huddled in a chair by a cold hearth, freezing to death.

Guiding the horse towards the rear of the building, Cutler sees the shack behind is little more than a dozen planks of wood nailed against a fence—a meagre shelter for firewood.

Climbing down, he unfastens the halter and leads the horse across to a stone trough, half-full of water. Not fresh, but the horse doesn’t seem to mind. Standing beside the animal, he slides a hand down its flank. The horse turns its head towards him for a moment and seems to study him. Cutler steps back, expecting another wink, or some other sign the beast is unlike any animal he’s ever seen. But there’s nothing, only a stream of breath from its nostrils, misting the air.

The witch walks around to the front of the house to the only door. As she disappears, Cutler listens. He imagines her standing at the door, staring at it, willing it to open. Something touches his leg making him start.  He glares at the horse, but the animal is intent on drinking. Turning, he looks for something else, some rodent, maybe a bird. Then a small stone hits his leg. Looking down, he sees there are two small round pebbles next to his boot. Were they there before? He thinks not. Moving behind the horse, he scans the area surrounding the house. It takes him a few seconds to see it, and a few more to work out that it’s a human hand, waving.

Cutler’s sudden intake of breath emits a sound louder than he’d like, but the horse continues drinking. Glancing at the cottage, he half expects Lizzie to appear at the corner, but she doesn’t. Instead, there’s a thud and a squeal of rusty metal that can only be the door slamming back on its hinges—Lizzie in the house, moving through it, heading for the window at the back. Cutler twists round to look for the hand again. Sees it. Judges its owner must be forty feet away, crouched behind a hedge in the next field. He waves at Winter to get down and stay down, then turns back to the house, just as Lizzie’s face appears at the shutter. 

Cutler blinks. Did she open the shutter? Must have, surely. Had she seen him gesturing? Her expression suggests not, but who can be sure?

‘What you standin there for?’ she says, jerking her thumb in a come-here signal. 
‘Just keepin an eye out for anythin. You know?’ He drops his gaze to the ground and strides across the grass to the window. ‘Gone, has he?’

She scowls. ‘Seems so.’ She lifts her chin and looks past him, towards the fields. ‘Not long, though.’
Cutler half-turns, as if to follow her gaze. ‘Probably miles away.’ He keeps his head facing away from her, for fear she might see his lie.

‘Fire’s still warm in the hearth,’ she says. 
Cutler feels her eyes boring into the back of his head. He turns to face her, determined to appear neutral. He looks towards the track. ‘Should be fresh hoofprints if he’s not long gone.’ He walks to the edge the lane and makes as if to examine the ground. Moving slowly, he crouches, touching the earth, tracing indentations in the mud.

‘Didn’t go that way,’ says the witch. Cutler almost falls over, taken by surprise. Lizzie is right next to him. ‘Only a fool would go back along there.’

Cutler gets to his feet, wipes himself down, playing for time. He looks up, waves his arms in a could-be-anywhere motion. ‘You think?’

But Lizzie is staring at him, hard, unblinking. A crease works its way across her forehead. She says nothing, just looks deep into his eyes as if she might see right through into his brain at what he’s thinking, at what he’s seen. Finally, she sniffs and steps back, turning towards the fields behind the house. ‘No, not that way. There.’ She points to the bush where Winter is hiding. Before Cutler can move, she’s off, running across the grass, climbing the fence, then striding straight towards the bush.

Cutler’s eyes are everywhere. Did Winter move? Could he have had time? He scans the horizon, focusing on the battered hedgerow and along to the corner, then down and back towards the house. There’s nowhere a man could hide, unless he’s able to camouflage himself in some way, cover himself with grass.
Lizzie utters a low growl. She kicks the bush. ‘He’s here…somewhere…’ She looks at Cutler, her mouth open. Then her frown disappears, and she laughs. It takes her only a few seconds to run back to the house, almost knocking Cutler to the ground in the process. Grabbing his coat, she hauls him upright. 

‘You fuckin cocksucker…’ Her hands are on his face, pinching and clawing at the skin. Cutler tries to pull away, but her grip is too strong. Then her thumbs are on his eyelids, pushing hard.

Cutler screams, clutching at her coat, her hands, her face. But she’s relentless, pressing her thumbs into his eyes, snarling like some hideously demented beast. 
Cutler screams again in the certain knowledge that in a few seconds she will rupture his eyeballs, rip them out of his head and blind him.

About the Author 
Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland. He has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor, and has occasionally masqueraded as a pirate.

His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, Word Bohemia, Every Day Fiction, The Grind, A3 Review, 1,000 Words, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. He currently lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland where he writes novels, stories, poems and the occasional song.

He also makes rather nice vegan cakes.

Social Media Links – 

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