People are dying at Strong Lake, and the worst is yet to come.
An idyllic weekend camping trip is cut short when Reece Wallace’s friends are brutally murdered. As the group’s only survivor, Reece is the prime suspect, and his story doesn’t make much sense. A disembodied voice warning him to leave the campground the night before? A strange, blackened tree that gave him an electric shock when he cut it down for firewood?
Detective Greyeyes isn’t having any of it until she hears the voice herself and finds an arrowhead at the crime scene an arrowheads she can’t get rid of. Troubling visions of a doomed Native American tribe who once called the campground home, and rumours of cursed land and a mythical beast plague the strangest murder case she’s ever been a part of.
If you are into horror stories then this book has it, but it’s not just that, there is a mixture of genre’s in here, some supernatural, a bit of police procedure, as well as some folklore.
The story is told in flashbacks from the now, and to when the ground was an Indian Reservation. Two teenage couples arrive for a weekend camping trip, arriving to an empty camping ground is never really a good sign, they become stranded, and have to try and quickly learn how to survive the wilderness. Unfortunately for most that isn’t meant to be. Reece Wallace is the only one who survives this horrible massacre, which is difficult for him to explain let alone talk about, and being the only survivor, he becomes the main suspect. Maria Greyeyes is the detective investigating, but these characters will need each other to survive when the murders continue to happen. Some of the writing made you feel like you were literally there, ramping up the tension.
Once the action begins it doesn’t really stop. If you like your books gory then this is for you as there is plenty of carnage, gore and evil, showing things that some people are capable of.
The author managed to capture characters well, drawing you in, some were likeable others not so, but they felt real and totally believable. Whether it was characters from the past or the present, the story just blended well.
The people on the nearby Reservation don’t trust outsiders, including Clear Springs Police Detective, Maria Greyeyes a Native American who doesn’t believe in the old superstitions. The actual campground is a place the Native Americans shun, but one that the Government pushes to belong to the Reservation, so neither side wants claim ownership of it.
This story sticks in your mind maybe because of the historical facts which the author has clearly researched, some of the atrocities that were committed by early American settlers on Native Americans, along with the racism that probably still lingers in some areas today.
I am not normally into horror stories, but this one is good and definitely worth a read. Not sure if I would read it round a camp fire though.
I give this book four stars out of five.
This book is available as a hardback, a paperback and an ebook as from the 24th October 2019.
I would like to thank netgalley and Flame Tree Press for giving me an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest, fair and unbiased review.
J.H. Moncrieff’s City of Ghosts won the 2018 Kindle Book Review Award for best Horror/Suspense. Reviewers have described her work as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure. She won Harlequin’s search for “the next Gillian Lynn” in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.
When not writing, she loves exploring the worlds most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja Muay Thai class.