Release date: January 3, 2023
A captivating psychological suspense debut about a young woman still haunted by her childhood best friend’s death who learns of an eerily similar incident and must find her way back to a cabin in the New England woods, armed with only hazy memories, to finally uncover the truth that has eluded her.
Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they’d been hanging around with all summer. Seven years later, Maya is just managing to move on; she lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret Klonopin habit that’s allowed her to cope with what happened all those years ago.
But her past comes to haunt her when she discovers a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged back into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her small Berkshires hometown to figure out the truth.
With guidance from a half-written book by the father in Guatemala she never knew, Maya’s quest for answers forces her to relive that fateful summer—the influence Frank once had on her, and the jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey—finally leading her to Frank’s cabin in the woods.
The House in the Pines is an utterly unique and surprising thriller about the subtlety of memory and manipulation, confronting the past and returning home, and the powerful and lasting bonds of family and friendship.
This was a middle of the road read for me so I’m just gonna tell you what I liked and what didn’t work for me and leave it there. I liked the setting, the culture, the folklore and the overall premise. There was definitely enough interesting elements that kept me reading, I never considered DNFing so I have to say I still liked parts. What I didn’t like was another woman with a pill problem can we just be done with that already? I feel like we can have an unreliable narrator without substance abuse. Things seemed to meander around about halfway through and I kept thinking, can we get to the point already? The ending/big reveal was also just ok for me. I wouldn’t even classify this as a thriller, I think calling it womens fiction with a side of suspense would be more accurate actually but not once did I feel like I was reading a thriller. All of that said I would try the author again knowing her style of suspense would be helpful and I think could make me like things more.
Overall rating: 3/5
Thanks to the publisher for my review copy.