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This opens like an American teen horror film set in a creepy forest. The adults are odd, obsessed with superstition, historical murders and conspiracy theories. I think I've seen this film many times.
What I like about Edwards' books is how 'scary things happen to ordinary people', which is his tagline. But this books is set in Maine and I associate the place with Stephen King not the ordinariness of middle-aged Englishmen. It seems as if he is trying to appeal to the American market by reaching out to King fans, perhaps, or Americans in general, and using words like 'flashlight' and 'candy' and suchlike. It doesn't gel with me.
The story is straightforward enough: a divorced man wants to spend some time with his teenage daughter who lives with her mother, so he arranges a holiday for them both in said creepy forest. Immediately she goes off with a teenage boy while a host of weird things happen involving creatures and missing objects.
The story is told in the first person (the English father) interwoven with the daughter's perspective and someone from the past who joins some kind of cult. Slightly banal until the last quarter when the life-or-death situations arise due to feeble motivations. Easy to read if Americanisms don't get in the way, and the ending is tense and action-packed.
Published by Thomas & Mercer on 8 July 2021.
Advanced review copy supplied by the publisher.
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