The Clearing: A Novel

Written by:
Simon Toyne
Narrated by:
Shazia Nicholls , Hugh Ross

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2023
10 hours 6 minutes
In this gripping suspense novel from the bestselling author of the Sanctus trilogy, lead forensic expert Laughton Rees is back, this time investigating a series of missing women in a small town near the Forest of Dean—where she uncovers a dark and sinister plot, decades in the making.

Never go back into the woods. Never go back and never look back…

Midsummer’s Eve. Bonfires dot the English countryside and flicker in the ancient Forest of Dean as costumed revelers dance and drink the night away.

But when the sun rises, a local girl, Maddie Friar, has vanished, last seen heading to a party in a forest commune called “The Clearing.” Her sister Adele reports her missing but the local police say Maddie was a known party girl and probably ran off with some boy, or maybe the “Cinderman” got her, referring to a local legend of a forest spirit said to haunt the woods in search of a lost daughter.

Eminent criminologist and academic Dr. Laughton Rees also knows about the Cinderman. She has found dozens of historical missing persons cases in these woods, all women, all attributed to this legend. But she doesn’t believe in legends; she believes in facts, so she heads to the forest and, with help from Adele, starts questioning everyone, from the mysterious Earl, lord of the crumbling abbey in the heart of the forest, to the charismatic leader of The Clearing.

But as Laughton slowly begins to unravel the legend of the Cinderman and realizes it is bound by blood to Adele and Maddies’ dark past, she also discovers too late that the truth is far uglier, and far more dangerous, than any mythical monster.
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I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but this one, the second, was a bit of a letdown. It was pretty boring and quite predictable. It was not a compelling or engaging listen.

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