By Carter Wilson
Publication Date: April 12, 2022
I saw a great review for this novel on a friend’s site and threw my hat in the ring to read the ARC, even though the publication date was looming. So happy I got approved! I love books I can gobble up like warm cookies – one or two sittings and they’re gone. This was definitely one of those.
Aidan Marlowe hits a lifetime’s worth of highs and lows in one day – he wins the Power Ball on the day his wife dies. Left with seven-year-old twins, more money than he knows what to do with, and memories surrounding him in his Baltimore home, he moves his family to Bury, New Hampshire, buying a mansion sight unseen. Little does he know their new home comes with its own trauma – from the mysterious disappearance of the previous occupants to vaguely threatening notes left on his doorstep from unnamed watchers.
As the notes grow more threatening, Aidan is flung into his past guilt and trauma, until it seems as though his past and present are going to collide.
There was a lot to like about this book. By the 50% mark in the story, I was convinced I knew who the culprit was. I was wrong. Very wrong. There’s not a lot I can say about the outcome since I don’t want to throw out any spoilers, but there was definitely a Shutter Island vibe going on in parts of this novel (just the vibe, not a literal plot device). Very creepy with very unexpected twists.
I could be wrong, but I feel like when the protagonist in a thriller is a male, there are a few things that are always present: recent trauma, unresolved past trauma, heavy drinking, and a likable character who’s just not handling things well. This novel had all of that – plus an Irish accent. (I almost wish I had the audiobook version.) Throw in young children who are put in harm’s way and I cared about all of them, a lot.
I feel like the only weak spots were in the beginning when Aidan makes the decision to move to Bury. I didn’t know the character well enough to follow his train of thought and while part of me understood his decision, it felt a bit off to move away from his only familial support system. I did love the setting, which focused more on the house than the town. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of the townspeople in the novel, since there was only one scene where more than one or two came into play, even though there was lots of chatter about how unfriendly the town was. There were plenty of red herrings, but I felt like that was a point that was highlighted and then kind of dropped.
Speaking of the setting, based on the author’s notes, this is the second novel not only set in Bury, New Hampshire but also in that specific house. I may have to go back and read the other one now because I’m intrigued since I’ve not seen that done before unless the second book was a sequel (and I didn’t get the impression that this one was.)
This is a book that you’ll want to speed through, the pace moves along so quickly from one threat to another that it was hard to put down. If you’re anything like me, you’ll change your mind several times trying to parse out what is actually going on, without coming to any solid conclusions before the end. Which, as far as I’m concerned, is why I read thrillers.
I rated this book 3.75 stars. ⭐⭐⭐+
Thank you to NetGalley and Poisoned Pen Press for providing the ARC copy of this book. I’ve left my review honestly and voluntarily.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.
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