A masterful, heart-palpitating novel of small-town horror and psychological dread from a Bram Stoker nominee.
"Malfi is a modern-day Algernon Blackwood... I'm gonna be talking about this book for years"
JOSH MALERMAN, author of Bird Box
Aaron Decker's life changes one December morning when his wife Allison is killed. Haunted by her absence—and her ghost—Aaron goes through her belongings, where he finds a receipt for a motel room in another part of the country. Piloted by grief and an increasing sense of curiosity, Aaron embarks on a journey to discover what Allison had been doing in the weeks prior to her death.
Yet Aaron is unprepared to discover the dark secrets Allison kept, the death and horror that make up the tapestry of her hidden life. And with each dark secret revealed, Aaron becomes more and more consumed by his obsession to learn the terrifying truth about the woman who had been his wife, even if it puts his own life at risk.
Malfi (Bone White) impresses in this taut, supernaturally tinged mystery, an intriguing variation on the well-worn serial killer plot. Translator Aaron Decker's life is upended by tragedy when his wife Allison, a columnist for a Maryland newspaper, is killed in a mass shooting at a mall. His grief is complicated by survivor's guilt, having turned down Allison's request that he accompany her that fateful day. Decker's turmoil is further exacerbated by his discovery that Allison kept secrets from him, starting with a two-night stay at a North Carolina motel he'd never known about. His initial worry that she was having an affair is soon allayed, only to be replaced by concern after learning that she'd been conducting a private investigation into the deaths of six young women in different states that had not been linked by the authorities. As Decker follows the clues in the files Allison left behind, he begins to suspect that her spirit is manifesting itself to him. The supernatural elements are fairly minimal, but Malfi makes his lead's shifting emotions plausible and sticks the landing with a powerful denouement. There's plenty here to enjoy.