Thinking her fourteen year-old son Tommy is spending the night at one of his best friend’s house, Elizabeth Sanderson in disturbed to receive a phone call saying her son has gone missing. As the shock sets in, Elizabeth can’t help but feel that history is repeating itself. Tommy’s father vanished in the night years before. Could it be that her son has followed in his father’s footsteps?
The answers are far more compelling and interesting than that and they make this book one that was, at times, next to impossible to put down. Add in an element of the potential supernatural and you’ve got the another winner from Paul Tremblay — an author who after reading just two of his books has been put onto my “must read anything he writes list” and whom I eagerly seeking you his back catalog.
Paul Tremblay’s Disappearance at Devil’s Rock starts with a heck of hook and doesn’t let up until the final page is turned. The question of how well you really know your kids and your family haunts every page of the novel and drives much of this superlatively told, suspenseful mystery. Like his earlier haunting A Head Full of Ghosts this is one of those novels that defies categorization beyond “a really good book that everyone should read.”
Trembaly ratchets up the tension and dread, bit by bit all the while crafting characters that are superbly realized. My affection and liking for each character changed from page to page and almost paragraph to paragraph. Peeling back one layer and answering one question only adds another.
Tremblay uses the convention of the supernatural thriller to examine family relationships and the very nature of who we are. He also looks at how easily we can be strangers to those closest to us. And yet, the novel never feels preachy or that it’s trying to make a bigger comment on a larger issue. Instead, Tremblay puts characters and storylines into play and subverts our expectations for them — but only in the best possible and most page-turning way.
If it sounds like I’m being vague here on some of the details, it’s because I am. This is one of those books best entered into with the reader knowing as little as possible about what’s to come. Do yourself a favor and pick this one up. Then block off some reading time — because I have a feeling that, like me, you’re going to be hooked.
In the interest of full disclosure, I received an ARC of this novel as part of the Amazon Vine program in exchange for an honest review.