Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her 13-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished in the woods of a local park. Riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night.
I have now read 2 of Tremblay’s book and it’s safe to say that I’m a fan of his type of horror! While this is my least favourite of the two I’ve read, it’s clear to see that Tremblay has a talent for slow building, family orientated horror.
I have to say, this book definitely takes a while to get off the ground. Although it starts suddenly with the disappearance of a teenage boy, it then takes its time to build the mystery of what has happened. Often times the mystery takes a step back and lets the family dynamics take the centre stage. This isn’t always my cup of tea but Tremblay managed to create a realistic and emotionally damaged family that were relatable, and therefore not a bore to read.
As for the actual spookiness of the story, I was impressed with the subtle sense of dread that was being built, almost without you realising. The descriptions of ghostly figures in shadowy corners may sound like it should be cliche, but they were written in such a way that it had me closely looking into the dim corners of my room before bed.
From reading the synopsis I wasn’t really sure what I was getting myself into with this one and I feel like it was better for me to go into the story this way. What I will say is that I loved the mix of normal storytelling and diary entries. In horror, diary entries always make for added creepiness so they were a perfect addition to the tone of this book.
There is a really strong mystery throughout that I was just desperate to know the conclusion of. I really couldn’t work out what I thought had happened. I can’t say the ending of this book was a surprise even though I couldn’t work out the end – it felt like the right way to conclude this book, but that didn’t detract from my enjoyment. In fact, it felt like that was the only way this story could have ended and I’m glad Tremblay didn’t try to get too clever with a wacky finish.
This book is filled to the brim with spooky happenings and emotional family dynamics. Highly recommended for horror lovers who are looking for something that little bit gentler and subtler than a King book. It’s got very emotional parts to the story so be prepared to have your heart strings pulled.