A creepy and sinister atmospheric thriller, suffocating and murky, that will get under your skin and hold you captive, lamp-lights burning (and doors locked) as you read on, losing conviction (but still optimistic! ) that you will be able to figure it all out.
What is it that makes a town become home, an insider emergent; a village closing ranks around you; secrets in, and interlopers safely out.
Cutter’s Pass is a mountain town, sporting a hiking-trail winding deep into the interior of the Appalachians – an infamous spot, host to the unsolved disappearance of four young hikers, more than twenty years ago, cheerfully (chillingly?) and forevermore known as the “Fraternity Four”, leaving the four-mile area of Cutters Pass with the unlikely moniker of “the most dangerous town in North Carolina”.
In the decades since, three more mysterious disappearances have served to raise the town’s notoriety-profile to white-hot, as it reluctantly extends hospitality to “trauma tourists” – modern-day ghouls seeking salacious details and a mystery to solve.
In the heart of it all, we meet Abby Lovett, twenty-eight years old, manager of the local inn, and the niece of its proprietor, long-time resident Celeste. Ten years after settling in town, Abby’s status is squarely nowhere – caught in the grey between the fortress of the town’s inner-circle and the loose-and-idle visiting tourists.
This uneasy balance is disrupted, suddenly and disturbingly, when the arrival of a visitor in town finds Abby drawn, unwillingly and with much trepidation, into the bowels of this mystery and its insidious hold over the townsfolk.
“You could be protected, as long as you protect in return”.
As the plot weaves and pulls, it is not at all clear what will emerge, as the “bones of the place” rattle, and questions become more prevalent than answers.
Thriller-lovers are in for a treat with this one, a captivating and hard-to-put-down read, which will keep you guessing, – right up to the satisfying and somewhat-tricky ending.
A great big thank you to @NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.