An unforgettable horror novel from bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn—hailed as a writer of “some of the most promising horror I’ve encountered in years” (New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire)—in which a small-town boy investigates the mysterious disappearance of his cousin and uncovers a terrifying secret kept hidden for years.
Young Jude Brighton has been missing for three days, and while the search for him is in full swing in the small town of Deer Valley, Oregon, the locals are starting to lose hope. They’re well aware that the first forty-eight hours are critical and after that, the odds usually point to a worst-case scenario. And despite Stevie Clark’s youth, he knows that, too; he’s seen the cop shows. He knows what each ticking moment may mean for Jude, his cousin and best friend.
That, and there was that boy, Max Larsen...the one from years ago, found dead after also disappearing under mysterious circumstances. And then there were the animals: pets gone missing out of yards. For years, the residents of Deer Valley have murmured about these unsolved crimes…and that a killer may still be lurking around their quiet town. Now, fear is reborn—and for Stevie, who is determined to find out what really happened to Jude, the awful truth may be too horrifying to imagine.
Lauded author Ahlborn (Within These Walls) delivers a beautiful and deftly wrought horror story of mothers, sons, and the delicate bond between cousins. Ten-year-old Stevie Clark of Deer Valley, Ore., is a word-salad stutterer with one friend in the world: his older cousin Jude. When Jude goes missing, Stevie is the only one who takes it seriously, and he knows the creepy house in the woods must be involved. Despite an uninterested town and his own fear, Stevie embarks on an investigation that convinces him there's a monster lurking in the woods. The real horror comes when Jude abruptly returns and Stevie must accept that he may still have lost his friend. With sympathetic attention paid to the relationships between overwhelmed mothers and the sons they can't save from evil, and prose that elegantly evokes tension while illustrating Stevie's rich inner world, readers will be engrossed and thrilled right through to the chewy final twist.
Awesome book! Definitely recommend.
Fine until the epilogue
No issue with the story itself. The writing has some bits of true inspiration shining through. But for me the entire ending was ruined by epilogue. SPOILER ALERT!
I can get over perhaps the aunt being in denial that she was brutally attacked by her son. But I can’t get over Stevie being institutionalized for his cousin’s death despite his entire family being a witness to his cousin brutally attacking his mom AND THEN DEGLOVING HIS FINGERS WITH HIS TEETH. I mean, come on! I get that the point was that Stevie should have been a hero but things don’t always work out that way and she set it up by having the mom think he was crazy, BUT SHE WITNESSED HER SO. GETTING ATTACKED! If nothing else, was he supposed to have devolved his own fingers???? Ugh!
Had trouble putting this one down.