The Lynmouth Stories: Book Review

Spoiler Free Review

Things are amiss in the quiet little town of Lynmouth. Yet, you wouldn’t know it to look at the place. Author LV Hay takes us on a blood soaked tour of the sleepy English village in their short story collection The Lynmouth Stories.

The real Lynmouth is a picturesque coastal village. With thick green forests, gently sloping hills, quaint architecture, and a lovely ocean view it is the very picture of English charm. And Hay’s prose is equally elegant and engaging. There is a poetry to her writing that moves the story along easily and with a sense of grace. The beauty of the town and the writing makes for a wonderful juxtaposition to some very dark tales. Not unlike many works of David Lynch, Hays explores the human darkness inside an idyllic town. Murder, kidnapping, you name it, it all exists in the small village. These are not breezy summer mysteries to read on vacation. That said,  Hay’s doesn’t shove gore and obscenities in our face. Rather, the author explores plots that are uncomfortable. (The Sun describes Hay’s first novel as “…startlingly dark…” which is how I feel about the first short story.) 

However, the endings all lack any sort of punch. It doesn’t destroy the stories but it hurt the quality of each tale. The twists or revelations just don’t add closure or a sense of wonder to otherwise engaging tales. It seems that Hay‘s style would do better in a novel or in poetry (In fact, after reading Lynmouth I will be seeking out Hay’s novel The Other Twin.) That isn’t to say that the stories are bad. Every other aspect is well done, but they aren’t as satisfying as they could.

But the lack luster endings don’t entirely ruin the entire experience. The stories are short and move along at a brisk pace And the characters and setting were interesting to explore. Again the stories might be a bit dour for a brief summer read at the beach. And the lack of punch will keep these from being a must read, but they are well written and very enjoyable.


Overall Verdict: This is a pretty easy recommendation. I don’t think it’s going to knock anyone’s socks off but it was an enjoyable read. Check it out. Its free at the moment on Amazon and otherwise goes for a reasonable price.

Recommend if you enjoy: dark mysteries, true crime (it’s not actually true crime but has a similar ambience),or titles like Luther, The Fall, and Broadchurch.   


The Lynmouth Stories official blurb

Beautiful places hide dark secrets … 

Devon’s very own crime writer L.V Hay (The Other Twin, Do No Harm) brings forth three new short stories from her dark mind and poison pen:

– For kidnapped Meg and her young son Danny, In Plain Sight, the remote headland above Lynmouth is not a haven, but hell.

– A summer of fun for Catherine in Killing Me Softly becomes a winter of discontent … and death.

– In Hell And High Water, a last minute holiday for Naomi and baby Tommy  becomes a survival situation … But that’s before the village floods.

All taking place out of season when the majority of tourists have gone home, L.V Hay uses her local knowledge to bring forth dark and claustrophobic noir she has come to be known for.

Did You Know …?

Known as England’s ‘Little Switzerland’, the Devon village of Lynmouth is famous for its Victorian cliff railway, fish n’ chips and of course, RD Blackmore’s Lorna Doone.

Located on the doorstep of the dramatic Valley of The Rocks and the South West Cliff Path, the twin villages of Lynton and Lynmouth have inspired many writers, including 19th Century romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley, who honeymooned there in 1812.


‘Well-written, engrossing & brilliantly unique’– Heat World

‘Prepare to be surprised by this psychological mystery’– Closer

‘Sharp, confident writing, as dark and twisty as the Brighton Lanes’– Peter James

‘Prepare to be seriously disturbed’ – Paul Finch

‘Crackles with tension’ – Karen Dionne

‘An original, fresh new voice in crime fiction’  – Cal Moriarty

‘The writing shines from every page of this twisted tale’– Ruth Dugdall

‘I couldn’t put it down’ –  Paula Daly

‘An unsettling whirlwind of a novel with a startlingly dark core’ – The Sun

‘An author with a fresh, intriguing voice and a rare mastery of the art of storytelling’ – Joel Hames


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Author Bio –

Lucy V Hay is a script editor for film and an author of fiction and non-fiction. Publishing as LV Hay, Lucy’s debut crime novel, The Other Twin, is out now and has been featured in The Sun and Sunday Express Newspaper, plus Heatworld and Closer Magazine. Her second crime novel, Do No Harm, is an ebook bestseller. Her next title is Never Have I Ever for Hodder Books.


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