Bowler is a very fine writer for teenagers, author of ambitious novels full of challenging ideas. Blood on Snow is a ghost story – the first of a series all to be set in Totnes – a time-slip adventure describing a centuries old evil committed when Norman soldiers conquered the town. Though strong on atmosphere and suspense and genuinely scary, it may prove a disappointment to his existing fans. With its short sentences, accessible, familiar vocabulary and clearly defined dialogue, this is a book written specially for the reluctant or disaffected reader, though, presumably deliberately, there is no indication of this anywhere on the jacket.
The book is illustrated by the equally talented Jason Cockcroft and though his illustrations serve to break up the text they seldom add anything to the story. For every brooding image of castle or dramatic battle scene, there are two or three static pictures of the book’s contemporary hero. Nonetheless, one to recommend to under-confident readers.