The most powerful aspect of Disappearance, though, is its immediacy. Tremblay doesn't shout or gesticulate. He whispers his tale, punctuating it with the 'clicks and whirrs' of an air conditioner or the life-mocking ring of a child's bicycle bell. His characters are rendered vividly and sensitively. The ambience is all shadows. 'No good news ever calls after midnight,' Tremblay writes early in the book; 'Nothing good happens in the middle of the night, right?' wonders one particularly cryptic character near the book's end. Not only are these bookends an example of Tremblay's immaculate storytelling, it hammers home the horror at the heart of Disappearance at Devil's Rock: That sometimes we can't truly see the ones we love until they've faded into the dark.
The novel is never, at any point, exactly what you expect it to be, and even when it’s over you might not feel you know what really happened to 13-year-old Tommy Sanderson, vanished in a warm New England night. Are there ghosts involved, or merely “felt presences”? In the end, what kind of horror this is, what kind of novel this is, doesn’t seem to matter. Like the other writers I’ve been reading, Tremblay is most interested in the in-between places, in feelings that are indeterminate and perhaps unknowable, like Tommy’s teenage sense of neither-here-nor-thereness...
Tremblay is a prize-winning writer of supernatural horror fiction and Devil’s Rock reflects his fascination with the unseen ... Tremblay’s portrait of these boys is arguably brilliant, although it can also be maddening...We are reminded that close exposure to the minds of 13-year-old boys carries the risk of permanent brain damage for someone of mature years. Yet the novel also offers an abundance of fine writing ... Ultimately, Tremblay, who has two children, has written a book about parenthood, one that will be most fully appreciated by others who have known the mingled joy and heartbreak that accompany that greatest of life’s challenges.
Tremblay is a master of slowly poisoning his readers with horror. You think you know where this book is going but you don’t know shit...Like IV drops introduced to your system over a long period of time, you don’t realize you’re high as a kite until the morphine’s long gone. The cosmic horror in this novel sneaks up and quietly caresses you. Once you feel its touch, it’s far too late to escape.
Tremblay focuses on creating very real worlds with evils more nebulous and less tangible than those that plague typical gorefests. He doesn’t spill much ink on monsters — he focuses instead on fully realized people whose lives readers might connect with ... Tremblay exhibits an exceptional ability to capture the vulnerability of teenagers and preteens.