Storm Catchers

The kidnap shocks the whole family. Poor frightened Ella, snatched away from the house in the middle of a storm. Fin will never forgive himself for leaving her on her own. Still, at least they’ll get her back when they’ve paid the money.

But the kidnapper has more than just money on his mind. And as his plans unfold, all the members of the family are forced to confront their deepest, darkest secrets. A storm is breaking, and it’s going to change everything…


‘Storm Catchers had a strange beginning. I had just finished River Boy and sent it off to my agent. I opened a new file on my computer, took a deep breath, and started the book I’d been brooding about for several months, which went on to become Shadows. While I was writing Shadows, however, images of another, quite different story started flooding my mind. Before long I was finishing each day’s work on Shadows with some doodling on this strange other novel. It started with a girl who hears a tapping noise in the night while she’s looking after her little brother and although she’s frightened, she goes downstairs to investigate. I wrote Chapter 1 without having the slightest idea of where Chapter 2 was going to go but, somehow or other, the next time I looked up (or so it felt), I was a month older, the book was on Chapter 12, and the story was tumbling out of me at a rate of knots. It wasn’t to last, however, and I finally lost my way with it after about fifty thousand words. I then had a dilemma. Shadows was taking shape pretty well but there was this other novel about a girl who is kidnapped and her older brother’s attempts to find her, and the little psychic boy with his eerie visions, and the derelict lighthouse on the cliff, casting its menace over everything. It didn’t want to let go. I resisted it somehow, finished Shadows, and, as with River Boy, sent the novel off to my agent. I then went back to the other story, took a deep breath, and started to write. Storm Catchers is the result.’

Tim Bowler


‘Storm Catchers is that rare thing – a thriller that makes you think. It’s a powerful mix of suspense and subtlety.’
Gillian Cross

‘Storm Catchers is a cliff-top cliff-hanger about a kidnap by the sea, with a supernatural element. Fin, the boy hero, dares all to save his sister in an atmospheric tale that is suspenseful and scary, and that also shows how families can look after each other.’
Sunday Times

‘Bowler’s latest classic is a psychological thriller that’s every bit as classy as the works of Barbara Vine…a great read.’

‘Storm Catchers by Carnegie Medal winner Tim Bowler is so packed with suspense, lurching from the problems of one character to another, that you can’t easily put it down.’
Newbury Weekly News

‘Bowler writes tight, exciting adventures that always look at serious issues and usually include an element of fantasy….As usual Bowler spins a good yarn but leaves us plenty to think about.’
Glasgow Herald

‘Heady stuff, full of atmosphere, energy and emotional shrapnel.’
Guardian Education

‘This book is very exciting and compulsive.’

‘Tim Bowler’s novel is a thriller with a supernatural element. As well as a tense plot, there’s a strong sense of place; the rocky, isolated Cornish coast providing the background.’
Times Educational Supplement

‘I didn’t have a particular favourite part – I loved it all!! The ending wasn’t what I expected but it’s good to be surprised. This book keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole way through, and urges you to want to read on. There’s a strange twist at the end, which I enjoyed. I think it’s good for boys and girls, especially those who like a thriller.’
Teen Titles

‘Tim Bowler writes in a special way making sure that you do not put the book down.’
Booktrusted News

‘It’s the fast, realistic action and dialogue and the stormy coastal setting that drive this story.’

‘Complex themes of guilt and betrayal enhance the suspense.’
School Library Journal


The sound came again, cutting through the night: a sharp metallic tap that carried even to the first floor of the house where Sam lay sleeping. Ella stood over him and listened for it again but all she heard was rain spattering against the window. There was a storm coming – a fine start to the summer holidays – but that wasn’t the problem.

The problem was being alone in the house at ten o’clock at night looking after Sam. She wished now that Fin hadn’t slipped out to see Billy but it was her own fault: she’d insisted he go, telling him Mum and Dad would never know as long as he was back before they returned from the pub.

But that could be ages. Billy’s parents had gone with them, which meant Mum and Mrs Meade would be yakking non-stop and Mr Meade would be trying to talk Dad into buying a new car from his showroom or joining the Save-the-Lighthouse project. They wouldn’t leave the pub before eleven and Fin would take his time, especially as she’d promised him she was all right.

But she wasn’t all right. She was terrified.

The sound came again, downstairs. She crept to the door. At least she hadn’t undressed for bed. She’d been thinking of it but she was still in the jeans, T-shirt and trainers she’d slopped around in all day, and now she was glad of it. It made her feel less vulnerable – though only a little.

She glanced at Sam. He looked so peaceful as he slept. She didn’t remember sleeping like that when she was three and now, at thirteen, she hardly slept at all. She was scared of the dark, scared of the noises she heard in this ancient house, and now, after Mr Fenner’s lecture in assembly about the need to be vigilant with strangers, she was even scared someone was stalking her round the village, though she knew that must be ridiculous.

Tap! The sound came again. She knew she ought to go down and investigate. Fin would. He might be small for fifteen but he’d go straight down and look the thing in the face. She made herself walk to the head of the stairs. Below her, the hall stretched away in eerie stillness. The lights were on but the house felt oppressive.

There’s nothing wrong, she told herself, and started to walk down the stairs. It’s just a storm coming. But it was no use. Polvellan was a house that had always frightened her even though she’d lived here all her life. It wasn’t just that it was such an old building. There was something else, something she didn’t understand; she felt uneasy here even when the others were around.

Tap! The sound snapped in the night again. She opened her mouth to call out and ask if anyone were there, then closed it again. If somebody were in the house, the last thing she should do was give herself away. She thought of Sam and wondered whether to go back and guard him.

No, check the downstairs rooms first. Make yourself do it. Then go back to Sam.

She tiptoed to the foot of the stairs and looked about her. On the wall nearby was the photograph of Dad at the opening of his Newquay superstore. Next to it were the sketches he had made of the Pengrig lighthouse ten years ago before the cliff-falls made it an endangered building. She ran her eye nervously over them, then scanned the hall as far as the front door.

Tap! She gave a start and looked to the left. The noise had come from the sitting room. There was no doubt about it. She stared at the door; it was ajar and the lights inside the room were switched off. She reached for the telephone. Ring Billy. Get him to send Fin home.

But she drew her hand back. She had to master this. She had to check the noise out for herself. It was bound to be something simple. She walked to the sitting room door and gave it a push. It brushed over the carpet a few inches and stopped. She stared through the gap, then took a deep breath, pushed the door a little further, and craned her head round.

The old room looked dusky but reassuringly familiar. Behind the drawn curtains she could hear the rain lashing against the window; but at least there was no one here. She pushed the door fully open and switched on the light. The features of the room sprang into focus: the piano, the fireplace, the armchairs, the sofa, the music stand with her flute beside it. She walked into the room.

Tap! She jumped. It was the window. Someone must be out there, hidden by the curtains. She hurried to the phone, picked it up and started to dial nine-nine-nine; then put it down. This was stupid. The tap wasn’t regular. It might not be a person at all; it might be something trivial. What would Dad say if she called the police out for nothing? She strode to the window, pulled back the curtain, and burst out laughing.

It was nothing after all. A chain from one of the hanging baskets had broken loose and gusts were throwing it up at the window so that every so often the metal ring at the end struck the glass. Tap! There it was again. She chuckled and reached out to close the curtain; then froze in horror.

Reflected in the glass was a figure standing behind her in the doorway.

She whirled round. It was a man, a huge man built like a bear. He wore a black oilskin top and black waterproof trousers, all gleaming wet, and blue sailing shoes. The hood was up and fastened tight round the face, which was half-obscured by a scarf over the mouth and nose. She took a step back.

‘Don’t hurt me. Please don’t hurt me.’

The eyes stared darkly at her.

‘What do you want?’ she said.

‘You,’ came the answer.


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