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Black Thorn

A slow-burning, multi-layered mystery about families and their secrets and lies 

Blackthorn Ashes was meant to be their forever home. For the first six families moving into the exclusive new housing development, it was a chance to live a peaceful life on the cliffs overlooking the Cornish sea, safe in the knowledge that it had been created just for them.

But six weeks later, paradise is lost. Six people are dead. And Blackthorn Ashes is left abandoned and unfinished, its dark shadows hiding all manner of secrets.

One of its surviving residents, Agnes Gale, is determined to find out the truth about what happened. Even if that truth is deadlier than she could have ever believed possible . . .


‘A creepy and atmospheric tale, beautifully and sensitively written.’ – The Guardian 

‘Brilliant. Taking a really deep dive into some dark spaces that Sarah brings vividly to life, it’s wonderful and unlike anything else I’ve read lately’ – Mick Herron

‘In Black Thorn a small piece of the world collapses – metaphorically, literally and emotionally.  This novel is immersive, claustrophobic, unbearably tense and quite brilliant.’ – Ann Cleeves

‘Sarah Hilary has done it again with this tale of toxicity in all its forms. Excellent writing and tight plotting on top of shifting sands make Blackthorn an unforgettable read with the most sympathetic protagonist I’ve read in years.’ – Liz Nugent

‘A mesmerizing story of family and community, secrets and lies. Psychologically rich and captivatingly told, Sarah Hilary’s Black Thorn sweeps you into its dark embrace from the start and holds you there until its final revelations.’ – Megan Abbot

‘This is an extraordinary book. Beautifully written, densely plotted, with an uncanny insight into the best and worst of family relationships.’ – Emma Flint

‘Sarah Hilary is a genius. Put this book on your pre-order list.’ – Fiona Cummins



Sarah Hilary has worked as a bookseller, and with the Royal Navy. Her debut, Someone Else's Skin, won Theakstons Crime Novel...