Disappearance at Devil's Rock
Author: Paul Tremblay
Release Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: Hardcover; ebook
A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.
“A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare,” raved Stephen King about Paul Tremblay’s previous novel, which received widespread critical acclaim. Now Tremblay returns with another disturbing tale just as powerful and unsettling.
Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a nearby state park.
The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her eleven-year-old daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy’s disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration. Neither the state nor local police have uncovered any leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were the last to see Tommy before he vanished, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out at a landmark they have renamed Devil’s Rock.
Living in an all-too-real nightmare, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a wraithlike apparition of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadowy figure peering through their windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journals begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; the coming zombie “pocketclips”; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all.
As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more ominous and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night at Devil’s Rock.
Tremblay deftly blends literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror into an absorbing tale that illuminates a parent’s darkest fears . . . and an adolescent’s darkest secrets. Eerie, thought-provoking, and soul-shattering, Disappearance at Devil’s Rock will haunt you long after Tommy’s final journal entry is read.
Disappearance at Devil's Rock is a gripping thriller that promises to send the reader on a roller coaster of emotions. Not only does it deal with the eerie disappearance of a teenage boy along with the strange events and secrets that follow, but it also speaks of a parent going through one of their worst nightmares - losing a child. There were several smaller story lines happening alongside the main plot, which I thought made the book all the more riveting. It took a bit for me to get accustomed to the author's writing style - it felt a little forced and dry at first - but once things started happening, I was glued to the pages. The story is told from several different points of view, some of them even being notes and pages from Tommy's (the missing boy) journal. I liked how the author incorporated those into the book - it made things more intriguing and mysterious.
The main issue I had with this novel was the author's writing style when it came to using point of view. If you've read any of my other reviews, you'll know that I'm a huge advocate for the first person POV because it allows the reader to connect with the narrator on a much deeper and more personal level than any other style. This book is told from several character's perspectives, but it's all done in the third person. If it had been written using the first person POV, I know I would have been lost inside the pages until I had finished the final sentence. This is solely my personal opinion - I'm not saying anything negative about the writing or book. I just prefer first person POV in almost all situations, and this happens to be one of them. I can understand not wanting to confuse the reader by having so many characters telling their own parts of the story and going with the third person viewpoint to avoid the confusion so it doesn't interfere with the overall plot and the smaller story lines throughout the novel. I completely understand the reasoning and logic, but again - I personally prefer the first person POV and would have loved this book all the more if it had been written that way.
The entire novel is well written with vivid details and descriptions, lots of characters - most of whom are decently rounded with unique personalities and traits, a multi-level story line that gives the entire book a depth that wouldn't have been there otherwise, and the writing was wonderfully done as well. Overall, I really liked this novel for lots of different reasons and I'm looking forward to re-reading it at some point to (hopefully) catch some details and clues that I missed this time around. Highly recommended for fans of thrillers, mysteries, suspense, contemporary fiction, and supernatural/fantasy!