Dark and Lonely Water – New Novel Coming 2023

Hey, everyone. It’s been a while since I last updated this site, but exciting things are happening so I thought I’d share some news with you all.

My first new novel in seven years (7!) is called Dark and Lonely Water. I’ve actually finished writing it and it’s currently being shopped around some publishers with a hopeful release date of 2023.

Here is a temporary cover that I mocked up using Midjourney for some ARC copies I’ve sent out to beta readers and to some other authors in search of blurbs, to whet your appetite.

I’d say that, in some ways, this book is a slight departure for me (mostly in that it contains almost no werewolves at all), although I can confirm that it is set in the High Moor Universe. Instead of full-on, balls-to-the-wall tension, gore and violence from the first page, I’ve tried my hand at something a little more along the lines of folk horror. However, I’ve taken the elements of folk horror that I do enjoy, such as taking existing myths (both ancient and recent in the case of this book) and building a narrative around them), while discarding some of the parts I’m not so keen on (glacial pace, massive groups of elderly cultists running around with their knackers flapping in the wind). The resulting book is most definitely a Graeme Reynolds novel, with my trademarks of real-world locations, (hopefully) realistic characters, a twisting plot with elements of humour, and some really rather dark and brutal parts too.

I’ll give you a little background on how the idea came about…

Back in 2017, I came across a recent urban myth – that of the Manchester Pusher. There have been a couple of documentaries on the subject, but the upshot of them is that in both Manchester and the North West of England in general, statistically the number of people drowning, especially young men, is significantly higher than the national average. From memory, I think it’s as much as four or five times more. The belief among the populace is that a serial killer is pushing people into the canals and waterways, and then keeping them in the water until they drown. This claim is refuted by the police.

You can view the channel four documentary here.

Now, as a horror author, I often see stories like this and think “what if…?”. In this instance, my thought process went along the lines of “What if this was being done by a supernatural creature?” So, of course, my next course of action was to start looking at myths and legends of the North West of England that involved water. Which led me to the story of Jenny Greenteeth.

Now, there is a good chance that some of you will have heard of this legend. A quick google search will reveal that she is a water witch that tempts children into the water to devour them, and it was widely believed to have been a story created to keep children away from ponds and rivers covered in duckweed, which would tangle their limbs and close over their heads, drowning them. I quite liked the idea of combining the modern myth and the ancient one, so the idea for Dark and Lonely Water was born.

Then I started to dig a little deeper into the legend of Jenny Greenteeth and came across the newspaper clipping below.

This image was from the Liverpool Echo, around the turn of the century. The story is that, while Liverpool Cathedral was being excavated, a life-sized wooden statue of a woman was unearthed. The statue was found in the centre of what seemed to be a small, pre-roman settlement and was inscribed with arcane symbols on its base. Despite its extreme age, the statue was in exceptional condition. Unfortunately, this statue disappeared within twenty-four hours of being unearthed, never to be seen again.

There are other bits and pieces of lore surrounding Jenny (or Ginny) Greenteeth that I came across and a lot of it is incorporated into the novel with only one or two embellishments. I won’t go into further detail for fear of spoiling the book, but I’ve tried to remain true to what I found wherever possible.

And yes, the name is taken from the harrowing public service film from the 1970s, narrated by Donald Pleasance which you can traumatise yourself by watching below.

So, there you have it. Watch this space for future details about the book’s eventual home and release date


~ by graemereynolds on September 12, 2022.

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