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Summary

Featured on BBC 2's Between the Covers.

Near the dying English seaside town of Ilmarsh, local police Detective Alec Nichols discovers 16 horses’ heads on a farm, each buried with a single eye facing the low winter sun. After forensic veterinarian Cooper Allen travels to the scene, the investigators soon uncover evidence of a chain of crimes in the community - disappearances, arson and mutilations - all culminating in the reveal of something deadly lurking in the ground itself.

In the dark days that follow, the town slips into panic and paranoia. Everything is not as it seems. Anyone could be a suspect. And as Cooper finds herself unable to leave town, Alec is stalked by an unseen threat. The two investigators race to uncover the truth behind these frightening and insidious mysteries - no matter the cost.

©2021 Buchanan Productions Ltd (P)2021 Macmillan Publishers International

Critic reviews

"Unlike anything else you'll read this year, Sixteen Horses is a deeply disconcerting ride. Irresistible." (Val McDermid, author of Still Life)

"Totally gripping from start to finish." (Alex Michaelides, author of The Silent Patient)

"Original, beautifully written, terrifying and haunting." (Sophie Hannah, author of Haven't They Grown)

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What listeners say about Sixteen Horses

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Brilliant story. Beautifully written and narrated.

Evocative, eerie, atmospheric, chilling. Loved it. Well narrated too. Highly recommended — don’t sleep on this one.

5 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Strange and drawn out

I did like this book but it was very drawn out and at times a bit strange, that being said the ending makes up for the slower parts and boring bits. I would have given the story more stars if wasn’t for the pointless chapters that didn’t really add to the story or tension. I switched between the actual book and the audio version, the writing structure is fabulous in the book and it carries will into the audio version and narrator is well suited to the darker slow burning tone of the book.

4 people found this helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Don’t waste your cash

This is a much vaunted book by the critics, Greg Buchanan is new literary talent?! Clearly they haven’t listened to or read this book, it’s badly written, tries too hard to be clever and dark. The writing tries hard to be ‘literary’ not your usual police procedural/thriller. The device of jumping around the story adds nothing, nor does the narrator, her monotone, quietly serious reading, is irritating beyond measure. It’s a simple story, which is mainly told in the last couple of pages. I’d genuinely give this a zero, and if his agent reads this, do Greg a favour and tell him to go back to his day job.

3 people found this helpful

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Didn’t enjoy this

I don’t know whether it was the story or the narrator but I found it really difficult to concentrate on the story. Most of the time I was just confused and didn’t know what was going on.

2 people found this helpful

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excellent, dark thrilling mystery

the immediate idea of the mutilated horses made me have to read o to find out why and I wasn't disappointed. this book was very dark but I love that! I thought the narrator was a bit flat and would have liked to hear ore emotions in her voice and changing cadence between male and female characters. it didn't ruin the book though, and I hope to listen to more from Greg Buchanan!

2 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Not a clue

None the wiser who did what to whom and why. Weird, depressing. Struggled to finish it.

2 people found this helpful

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Bleak and beautiful

A richly-textured rendition of broken people and places, which really draws you into its dark melancholy. It feels like a real depiction of mental health and some of life's struggles. The fractured relationship moments between Alec and his wife come to mind immediately as poignant and sad, and beautifully observed.

I like the filmic scenes, which are sometimes short, sometimes longer, but which always make you feel like you're in the hands of a writer who knows how to plot for maximum thematic impact. I feel no detail is wasted to reinforce the themes.

I enjoyed the actress' performance, which brings its own layer of low-key melancholy, and I liked that their accent seemed to fit the area in which the story is set.

1 person found this helpful

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Memorable

Well written and the narrator was very good. Very hard going at times and sometimes disturbing, but a book I will always remember not sure if that is a good thing or not.
It would make a very good film.

1 person found this helpful

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Too hard to follow

It lost me completely, had no idea what was going on or who was who

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Oh dear

What may have been an excellent book has yet again been ruined by an awful narration . It gets to the point whereupon that voice grates in your ears and you really don't care how the story ends . Shame that an inventive storyline has been ruined by a fifth rate actress or whatever .