Book Reviews

Book Review: The House in the Pines

By Ana Reyes

Published January 2023

336 Pages

A week before she left for college, Maya’s best friend Aubrey dropped dead.  The cause of death was never determined, and Maya managed to bury it under heavy alcohol and drug use.  But seven years later, she stumbles across a video of another young woman who mysteriously dies while sitting in a diner.  What’s unsettling about the video is that she’s with the same man Aubrey was talking to when she died, Maya’s ex-boyfriend Frank.

She’s alarmed that Frank is still harming women, even though she has no idea how he killed Aubrey.  No one believed her then, why would they believe her now?  Maya’s life is far from on track, but she’s trying to kick her pill habit and she has a steady boyfriend, who knows nothing of her past.  But is she willing to let Frank continue hurting people, even if she risks her own future in trying to stop him?

“The House in the Pines” interpreted by Wombo Dream

I wanted to read this book for months before it came out.  I’m not sure why, but it called to me.  I suggested it to my library, and I requested the ARC.  Nothing panned out so finally I bought it.  Since I don’t buy newly released (e.g., hardback) fiction that often, it’s always a gamble if it was money well spent.  There’s nothing more disappointing than spending a lot on a book that doesn’t live up to your expectations.  If you figured out I lost this bet, you’d be right.

The set up for this thriller is great.  Maya’s aunt was mentally ill so when Maya starts losing time in Frank’s presence, she’s afraid to say anything in case her mother also questions her mental stability.  Then Aubrey dies and Maya turns to drugs and alcohol.  When it all pops up again years later, Maya’s mental health is once again in question so she has a dual problem – proving Frank killed these women and getting someone to believe her.  Add in tension between her long-term boyfriend, and she has quite a bit at stake.

The plot moved along nicely, flipping back and forth between the present and seven years ago when Maya met Frank, interspersed with memories of her father (who died before she was born) and his unfinished book.  The threads were coming together and the tension was fairly high until the last fifteen percent of the book (or there about).  Then it all fizzled.  No real climax and a weak denouement.  It’s truly disappointing when the heroine in a thriller takes the safe option instead of seeing everything through to the end.  

This is one I probably should have waited for the library to buy.

Final rating: 2.75/5 stars ⭐⭐+

Until next time, thank you for visiting.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s