Published by Orenda Books on June 1st 2017
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“Don’t fear the dark, dear, swift is the night,
For nothing will harm you, wrapped up here, tight.
That’s just a shadow, dear, don’t fear a sprite.
Don’t pay your mind to the tricks of the light.”
Fifteen-year-old, Tom Jeffries body has been found at an outward-bound center in Scarclaw fell one year after he went missing. His disappearance was investigated and chalked up to misadventure. Twenty years later, investigative journalist Scott King, decides to investigate the case. King has reached cult internet success. He keeps his face hidden as he wants the emphasis to be on story – the podcasts a.k.a. the six stories that give the reader/listener some insight into what happened that fateful night that Jeffries went missing. The podcasts focus on various people who were on the trip with Tom Jeffries or who had contact with the teenagers during 1996-1997. Each podcast is told from that person’s point of view as they are being interviewed by King. Local folk legends/tales are also discussed and add to the creepiness of the story. King emphasized he is not there to judge or to determine for himself what happened, that it is up to the audience to come up with their own conclusions.
“There is evil in the world. There is definitely evil in this world of ours.”
This book started slowly for me. This book isn’t a fast-paced page turner but more of a character study on teenagers, the group dynamic, bullying, and those who encounter them. As the podcasts progress, I had no idea as to what could have happened to Jeffries. Did he fall into the Fell? Was he murdered? Did some dark spooky creature or a witch claim him? Were the dark tales real? Are there really things that go bump in the night? What I liked is that I was slowly sucked into the story and could feel the damp, cold, dreary atmosphere seep in. I found myself getting sucked into this book even though it is on the slower side, but it creates such an atmosphere that I was captivated before I even knew it. This book snuck up on me!
This one gets points for originality and for telling the story from various viewpoints without becoming boring or redundant. The various characters had distinct personalities which helped set the stage and move the story along.
Again, not a fast-paced book but one that slowly creeps up on you, gets under your skin and sends shivers down your spine.