“You know what they are, don’t you?”

Should you forgive your family for turning their back on you?

Martin Gates left the village fifteen years ago because he didn’t belong any more.  Now he’s back and looking for answers.

A horrific accident leaves a farm worker fighting for his life, a brutal killing triggers a police investigation, and even the locals are starting to fall out among themselves.

While Martin makes his presence felt, it becomes clear that he isn’t the only visitor. As the ravens gather and darkness descends, it’s time for history to repeat itself.

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Graeme tells the story behind the story

Back in 1989, driving along the A1, I noticed a group of black birds on the hard shoulder, no doubt feeding off some rotting dead animal.  As I drew closer, some more arrived and I said: “Did you see those ravens gathering?”

The phrase leapt out at me.  What a brilliant title for a book!

It stuck with me and my mind went into overdrive.  With that title, the story had to be creepy, probably touching on the supernatural.  It wasn’t subject matter I was naturally inclined to write, but the title didn’t really fit anything else.

To be fair, I wasn’t against horror.  From the age of ten, I’d stayed up late watching Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing on TV, and in my teens I’d discovered Stephen King, James Herbert and Graham Masterton.  It just never occurred to me that this was a genre I could write.

Even so, images began to come into my mind.  One of the first was of drawers opening and closing themselves.  Although it doesn’t survive the way I initially envisaged it, a key scene in the book does involve some unnatural furniture!

Still more ideas began to formulate and the broad idea for the story began to gel in my mind.  Yet it didn’t get any further than that for twenty years.

Having spent about 5 years working on the first draft of a different novel, I concluded I needed a break before I started editing.  So, taking a week’s holiday, I finally started putting down on paper the ideas that had been sitting in my head.  Copious notes were written – back stories, timelines, character sketches and plot.  I knew it needed serious planning because of the intricate plot.

A month later, I wrote the prologue and could barely contain my excitement as I finally crystallised a scene that had in my head for 20 years.  Two years later, having been re-drafted and edited, it was finally published.

In a way, I was right.  Ravens Gathering isn’t a true horror story – it’s a thriller where other genres put in cameo appearances.  But its tone is right for the title and, although the genre may not be typical of my style, in a sense that’s all to the good.  Because whenever someone picks up a book I’ve written, I want them to discover something they weren’t expecting.

A selection of reviews of Ravens Gathering

For me, to get all the stars in my review ratings a book has to do one of two things – be totally unputdownable or to surprise the hell out of me!! Ravens Gathering has the enviable honour of doing BOTH of those things!

My Chestnut Reading Tree

Small town, hidden secrets is a well-trod path. But Cumming’s narrative and creative elements elevate this beyond the usual.

Horror Novel Reviews

My reading hasn’t always been on the lighter side – in my younger days I did have a flirtation with early Stephen King, Dean Koontz, James Herbert. Had they lived in Nottinghamshire, this is a book any of them could have written, and been proud of.

Being Anne

Superbly written, I can’t say more otherwise it will truly give the plot away. Highly recommended!

M.A. Comley, bestselling author of the Justice series

Graeme pulled me into his world, he wove a web so ‘real’ that I didn’t want to leave. His detail, description and characters left me wanting more and more…. please say there will be more?!?

Orchard Book Club

The author is a slippery customer and likes to play with the reader… all of a sudden everything you thought you knew is on its head and you have to completely re-assess!

Emma R – Books, Writing and Life

The birds weren’t threatening, yet the sight of them all coming together in this dark and isolated spot was unnerving.  Tanya reached a hand out towards Martin, and was relieved to feel him take it.  She felt him move in behind her.  After the uncertainty she’d experienced with him in a similar position only a few moments ago, she recognised the irony of her reaction.  His closeness offered security.

“You know what they are, don’t you?”

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