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Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Shivery Psychological Thriller Boasts Gothic Setting and "I See Dead People" Vibe

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Mattie Lane loves volunteering with Sanctuary, a non-profit group which acts as a sort of Underground Railroad for women and children in need.  The 59-year-old retired social worker has been working with the organization long enough to know its rules and protocols.  Still, when she's sent to the bus station in the middle of the night to pick up a frightened woman and child, Mattie can't bear to send them on.  Instead, Mattie breaks Sanctuary's rules and brings the pair home with her to her big, lonely house in the woods.  What she can't quite admit, even to herself, is that the 10-year-old boy, Oren, reminds her of her little brother, who died more than 30 years ago.  She can't help feeling protective, especially since something about the woman's story doesn't quite add up. 

As a winter storm bears down on upstate New York, the three hunker down in Mattie's dilapidated home.  Almost immediately, strange things begin to happen, things that have a still grief-stricken Mattie wondering if she's going crazy.  Mattie knows Alice and Oren are hiding secrets, but is it possible something otherworldly is going on?  Mattie's got her own secrets to spill—can she and her two visitors learn to trust each other enough to let them out?  With the blizzard worsening around them and danger literally banging on the door, they will have to rely on each other to make it through the night alive.

I'm a fan of Carol Goodman's eerie psychological thrillers, especially the ones with Gothic overtones and a splash of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.  The Night Visitors certainly fits the bill. The story is compelling, the plot exciting, and the characters sympathetic. Featuring a creepy old house, an isolating blizzard, and an "I see dead people" vibe, it's a shivery tale that kept me slightly off-kilter throughout. Although I saw some of the plot twists coming, I didn't see all of them, which kept the novel interesting. This isn't my favorite Goodman book, but it's a good one from an author who never fails to pull me into her stories and keep me hooked.

(Readalikes:  Other books by Carol Goodman)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for language, violence, and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  I received an e-ARC of The Night Visitors from the generous folks at HarperCollins via those at Edelweiss.  Thank you!
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Swimming in a Sea of Stars by Julie Wright

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