Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A complex and moving tale of psychological suspense

Disappearance at Devil's Rock

By Paul Tremblay

Publisher: William Morrow 

Pub Date: June 21, 2016

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars


Paul Tremblay is fast becoming the name to recognize when it comes to psychological suspense and horror. We received a generous taste of his talent in last year's A Head Full of Ghosts. Yet his latest novel reveals that last year's book was only the tip of the iceberg.

The plot of Disappearance at Devil's Rock centers around a fairly typical suburban family consisting of Elizabeth Sanderson and her two children, 13 year old Tommy and 12 year old Kate. Tommy is spending the night with his two friends but doesn't return home. What results is a town-wide search for the boy, a series of events that hint of the supernatural, and numerous lies and diversions that at first hide the truth but eventually reveal a turn of events that Elizabeth or any of the people searching for Tommy will not be prepared for.

This is not a fast-paced novel yet the author's quiet and determined phrasing pack more of a wallop as you think about them later. There is little violence . This is a character driven novel with protagonists that are well thought out and complex. We do not know what has actually happened to Tommy until the very end and the author gets us there through a series of events that relies on several character's perspective and even some mysterious diary pages whose appearance is a big part of the puzzle. The changes in perspective could cause a lesser writer to crumble but Tremblay writes through it like the expert storyteller he is.

Overall I must say Disappearance at Devil's Rock is as impressive a novel as they come. It is a literary feat that manages to combine mystery, psychological suspense, and horror yet feels unique and different. With the year only half over, I think we have a major contender for best novel of 2016.

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