It's Autumn of 1940, and German bombs are destroying the cities of Britain as WWII takes its toll on Europe. In London, children are being removed from their families and taken to the country for safety. Teacher Eve Parkins is in charge of one such group, and her destination is an empty and desolate house that appears to be sinking into the tidal marshes that surround it. Its name is Eel Marsh House. Far from home and with no alternative, Eve and the children move in. But it soon becomes apparent that there is someone else in the house.
"Goose bumps Guaranteed"
When the savagely beaten body of a Muslim student is discovered in a rundown area of Newcastle, blame falls on the far right National Unity Party - but for once they appear to be innocent. Not the best time for Trevor Whitman to return to his native north-east. Haunted by his violent past, Whitman is tormented by anonymous calls alluding to the murder of a policeman 30 years before.
"Brutal Brit Crime Fiction"
Today Coldwell is desolate, a crumbling town whose streets are lined with empty shops and populated by ghosts. Two decades ago, the city thrived on the back of a coal industry so powerful that in 1984, the union staged a strike intended to bring Britain to its knees. Instead the government broke the strike - breaking Coldwell along with it. The effect is seen in five citizens of the town: a heroic footballer, a Dean Martin-obsessed thug, an increasingly desperate striking miner, a crusading journalist, and the reporter’s troubled sister.
Autumn 1940, World War Two: Bombs are raining down, destroying the cities of Britain. The evacuations begin, and soon children are being taken to the country for safety. Teacher Eve Parkins is in charge of one such group. The children are scared and Eve does her best to calm them, but the truth is that she too is haunted by a personal tragedy she cannot put behind her. Their destination is Eel Marsh House. Desolate and forlorn, it is situated on a causeway and is sinking into the treacherous tidal marshes that surround it. Far from home and with no alternative, Eve and the children move in.
Newcastle, 1946: 19-year-old Jack Smeaton returns from the trenches, his hair turned white by the traumas of WWII. He seeks solace in socialism, falling under the spell of the young T Dan Smith, visionary future leader of the city council, architect of tower blocks and sculpted concrete. Meanwhile, the future of Monica Blacklock, victim of a childhood of abuse, seems unremittingly bleak. A chance encounter with a handsome young man on the banks of the river Tyne looks set to change her life for the better. But handsome, psychopathic Brian Mooney has plans for Monica....
A hard-hitting series of anti-corruption articles and a new girlfriend mean that, for the first time since his wife and child were murdered, investigative reporter Stephen Larkin is happy in Newcastle. It’s a shame, then, that his work is about to take him south. A friend of his, police inspector Henry Moir, has lost his youngest daughter, an HIV-positive heroin addict named Karen. Her last known location was London, which Larkin once called home, so Moir asks the reporter to act as tour guide to the capital’s hellish underworld.
Anne Marie Smeaton is back in her hometown, trying to live a normal life with her partner and teenage son. But that's impossble for Anne Marie, because 40 years ago, when she was eleven, she killed a little boy. She is trying to make peace by telling her story to journalist Joe Donovan. But by dredging up repressed memories, Anne Marie is unleashing old nightmares.