DISAPPEARANCE AT DEVIL’S ROCK
Written by Paul Tremblay
Published by William Morrow, June 21, 2016
My star rating: 2.5 stars
Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her fourteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.
The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend his disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration. The local and state police haven’t uncovered any leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were with Tommy last, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out at a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock— rumored to be cursed.
Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their own windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal 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; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all and changes everything.
As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened becomes more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock. Find it on Goodreads
It absolutely breaks my heart, but I have to admit that this was hands down the most disappointing read of 2018 so far. After reading the synopsis I had an idea of what to expect. The synopsis mixed with my experience of his other book, A Head Full of Ghosts, I fully expected a bone chilling mystery filled with paranormal horrors. I don’t think that I’m wrong in assuming that this was how this book was going to go! The synopsis mentions Devil’s Rock, a curse, a ghostly shadow of her missing son, pages of journal mysteriously showing up, and a folk tale. It even includes the buzzwords haunting and sinister! What ended up happening was a mediocre tale that fell flat and wasn’t paranormal in any way.
The book starts off strong. Three young boys in the excitement of summer, and one boy goes missing. A mother is suddenly finding herself in her worst nightmare as her oldest child goes missing. All of this happens in the first chapter and immediately makes you want to know more. But here’s the thing; once the story breaks, there’s a stalemate. The story settles and not a whole lot happens. There are recounts by the two remaining boys, who have been friends for years, and were there the night Tommy disappears. These looks back to the past builds their relationships and brings us to the night he goes missing. But when we are in the present, nothing happens. A mother is distraught and trying to hold herself together for her daughter. The police are searching and not finding anything. And that’s basically all that happens.
Like I already mentioned, I thought there was going to be a paranormal element. I think that me expecting it only finding out that it wasn’t going to happen is why I couldn’t allow myself to enjoy it. There was a slight build up to paranormal elements but then it just fizzled out. Everything that could have been creepy was either left alone or explained in a normal way. And it was SOOOOO hard not to compare this to his other book! A Head Full of Ghosts was the creepiest book I’ve EVER read. It gave me massive goosebumps and I was afraid to read it at night. It takes a lot to scare me (seriously, a LOT!) and that book still give me the shivers years after reading it! I really wanted that experience again, but this wasn’t even close.
The writing was similar though. I really enjoy his writing style. He is great with suspense which is something I always struggle reading. But the plot as a whole was lacking, the pace too slow, and missing that fear elements that I really wanted. If mystery and crime is something you enjoy, you may really like this! Just be warned that there is nothing paranormal about this!
Until next time, happy reading!