COLD IN EARTH
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‘My baby – Beth – has just died. Well – that’s not quite true. It only feels true. It feels as if it has been one long day since she died – which was Friday, about lunch time I think, and now it’s Tuesday. I’ve been told to write – to keep a diary, because I can’t speak to anyone… I have sat here every day looking at the garden but I haven’t opened anything or moved anything, and now I’m writing…’
Zoe is a mother, a television celebrity and a powerful career woman. Hers is a success story that millions can only dream of. But when her baby dies, her grief and guilt plunge her into an inner landscape of dream and nightmare where the familiar becomes horrible, the unthinkable real. Her family find themselves powerless to help her, and as their world disintegrates they are drawn into a labyrinth at the centre of which lies an unimaginable truth.
Cold in Earth – a stark, poetic and utterly terrifying first novel
‘A near brilliant first novel. …Through diary entries we follow Zoe’s painful descent into virtual madness. The work here is meticulous: bleakness embraced and transmuted into drama by a writer at the top of her craft.’
‘Intelligent, suspenseful work, offering something to both mainstream fiction audiences and mystery fans.’
‘A dark compelling tale of disintegrating family life. In one sense a story of love triumphant… in another of evil and revenge.’
‘Melissa Jones’s subject – the collapse of an outwardly successful famiy after the death of a baby – is compelling, and her writing clear and intense. Her characters tell the story in their own words, through diaries and letters, and are each convincing and complex. Particularly well-drawn is the mother, Zoe, a television celebrity whose mental breakdown following her daughter’s cot death fills the first half of the book. (Then) … the pace becomes tense and claustrophobic, like a thriller, as the truth behind the family’s deaths rise to the surface. The climax is slightly unbelievable, but you put the novel down feeling thoroughly chilled, and aware of a strong new author.'
Lottie Moggach, Saturday Times, Feb 1998 – Pick of the Week
‘A quietly chilling account of the destruction of a family. The story unfolds in the journals of some of the people involved… it’s a difficult technique to employ successfully, but Melissa Jones has brought it off with deceptive ease.’
Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Orion; New edition (6 May 1999)