HEARTH OF DARKNESS: first book by award-winning investigative journalist Matt Blake slated for Halloween 2025

Credit: Nick Blake
May 9, 2024

We are delighted to announce a trio of firsts in the acquisition of Matt Blake’s first book Hearth of Darkness. In her first acquisition for us, Publisher Katie Bond acquired UK & Commonwealth rights from Dotti Irving at Greyhound Literary. Hearth of Darkness will be published in hardback, ebook and audiobook on 31st October 2025.

Matt Blake tells the powerful true story of discovering his new home was once the lair of the E17 Nightstalker. Hearth of Darkness follows Matt’s struggle to unravel the chilling secrets of his house, where the weight of the past threatens to suffocate the present. It was meant to be a refuge for him and his young daughter after a painful divorce. But when strange things begin to happen, he is forced to confront his own fears and vulnerabilities. Can a house be haunted by a bad past? And how does a rationalist who doesn’t believe in religion or ghosts make sense of the paranormal?

Matt Blake, author of Hearth of Darkness, says:

‘There are only so many times in a writer’s life – maybe only once – that a story comes along that you simply have to tell. This is mine, a story that I hope will resonate with anyone who’s ever wondered what happened in their home before they moved in, and what secrets its walls may keep. Hearth of Darkness is a story that was born in the dark, and I can’t wait to bring it into the light. I couldn’t be happier to be working with Katie and the team at Elliott & Thompson, and I’m delighted to join such a fabulous roster of authors.’

Dotti Irving, agent for Hearth of Darkness, said:

‘From the moment I read Matt’s original Guardian article, I knew that he had to write this book.  The true story of his discovery that the notorious E17 Nightstalker had once lived in his new home led him on a quest that will make readers look over their shoulders and ask themselves the haunting question; can a house remember? I’m delighted that we’ve brought Matt’s powerful first book to Elliott & Thompson and Matt and I very much look forward to working with Katie and her team to unleash it on the world in 2025.’   

Katie Bond, Publisher at Elliott & Thompson, says:

‘I was hooked immediately by Matt’s writing and the compelling mix of personal dilemma as he seeks safe harbour for him and his daughter and his investigative skills as he sets out to uncover his house’s past and make rational sense of the inexplicable.  It’s irresistibly readable and you may well find yourself spooked and having to leave the bedside light on. Everyone at Elliott & Thompson is delighted to welcome Matt and Hearth of Darkness to the list.’


Matt Blake is an award-winning freelance journalist whose Guardian article House of Horror, the springboard for this book, attracted over half a million reads in its first week of publication.
A former staff crime reporter for The Daily Mirror and The Independent newspapers, Matt has covered stories including the trial of serial killer Levi Bellfield, the News of The World phone-hacking scandal and the London riots of 2011. He now specialises in long-reads, investigations and interviews for the likes of The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, Vice, ShortList magazine, Time Out, Grazia, Men’s Health, The London Magazine, The Gentleman’s Journal and The Red Bulletin. His 2012 investigation into working conditions on cruise ships was turned into one of Channel 4’s most-viewed Dispatches films of that year, under the title Cruises Undercover: The Truth Below Decks.  He was also the credited consultant for BBC1’s hit 2018 drama series Press, by the acclaimed playwright Mike Bartlett, which followed the lives of journalists at a left-leaning broadsheet and a populist tabloid. His award-winning story, The Robots Are Coming, And They Want Your Job, appeared in Vice magazine and was selected for the prestigious Best American Essays of 2019 collection (Harper Collins), edited by Rebecca Solnit. Hearth of Darkness is his first book.