Alice decides to shoot a documentary film about a ghost town that was left abandoned years ago when everyone there mysteriously disappeared, including her own grandmother and family.
She arrives in the abandoned town with the small crew she’s assembled, including Emmy, her old roommate from college, but as soon as they arrive, mysterious things start happening.
This story is told through alternate timelines, switching between the present (Now), in which Alice and her crew scout the deserted area, and the past (Then), in the months leading up to the abandonment of the town. Old letters, sent and received by Alice’s ancestors, also fill in parts of her family history.
In the ‘Then’ timeline, a good deal of the events are foreshadowed early, but this is by design. It allows you, the reader, to figure out what is going to happen before it’s revealed, and it’s incredibly effective in creating a sense of impending doom.
To counterbalance that, the ‘Now’ timeline is edge-of-your-seat shocking and unexpected and full of twists. It’s bold and dramatic and surprising and scary and also, unexpectedly, sad. Alice is a wonderfully flawed main character, and I really appreciate how well-developed the relationship is between her and Emmy.
This story has similarities to the work of filmmaker Ari Aster (Midsommar, Hereditary), which I love!! It’s smart horror that doesn’t just entertain and scare, but provides interesting - and at times uncomfortable - social commentary.
And just like Aster’s movies, this book is NOT for the faint of heart.
I’d say this is perfect for fans of horror, first and foremost, but also those who enjoy psychological thrillers or mysteries.
Thank you St. Martin’s Press for the ARC!