What an incredible, sad story. This is the kind of story that lingers long after you’ve finished reading. It’s dark and twisted, with no redemption for the characters. And yet, it is probably a more realistic ending than the ones we normally read about. Secrets and lies damage all those involved, seen very clearly in this story. If you enjoy dark, gritty thrillers, then I recommend you read this book. Just be warned that there are no happy endings here. If you dislike the reality of broken lives, this is not the book for you.
Eric Rickstad’s latest Vermont thriller presents a psychological mystery with stunning twists—perfectly paced and carefully constructed so that each startling new direction fits perfectly with what’s gone before, yet feels utterly unpredictable. That’s the ideal balance for this can’t-put-it-down novel crammed with sinister foreboding and family trauma ... Though Rickstad declares this novel to be a new direction for him, the vivid portrayal of place and threat will be familiar to those who’ve read his other books ... Rickstad makes it clear that it took both The Story Factory and the unusual tilt of Blackstone Publishing to allow him to swerve into this powerful diversion of narrative and suspended disbelief. Three more books are promised. Which should be, in fact, as good a return on investment as young Wayland will get for his desperate investigation.
... strange and engrossing ... The reader will entertain many incorrect theories before arriving at the shocker of a finale ... Rickstad has an elaborate, old-fashioned style of narration. He sends us hurtling down one path before yanking the reins and pulling us in another direction. Soon we are in a tale not just of profound misunderstanding but also of dynastic wealth and dysfunction, of how money and power can warp a community. The creepiest thing of all: when we discover the true meaning of the mysterious note.
Rickstad ratchets up the suspense, filling Wayland’s investigations with misdirection, shadowy characters, and gothic elements. There’s a sense of dread throughout the book, but the final plot twist is a jaw-dropper. Recommended for readers who like their thrillers dark and twisted.
... exceptional ... The reveal about the meaning of the note comes as a genuine gut-punch. Knowing that the story line is building toward the fatal conflagration keeps the tension high. Rickstad has raised his game to a new level.