As a child, William Bellman makes a mistake. Proud of his well tuned slingshot, he kills a raven. From then on the ravens watch him, as does a mysterious man, Mr. Black. William sees him at funerals. His presence frightens William. He would like to come close to the man perhaps speak to him, but the mam eludes him. This changes when William's successful life is derailed by a personal tragedy. Then he and Black make a rather strange bargain.
As a ghost story this doesn't work for me. The first part of the book is quite cheerful. It details Williams successful life running a mill, marrying, and raising children. The mysterious Mr. Black makes appearances, but, while upsetting to William, there is nothing particularly eerie about them.
This story is primarily a character study of William and how he deals with his life after the unfortunate killing of the raven. If you like a story with a good plot, this isn't the book for you. The plot is very thin and the characters, aside from William, come across as actors in his drama without much substance of their own. I wanted to like the book. Ghost stories are great fun, but this one didn't give me chills.
I reviewed this book for Net Galley.