Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding
|May 27, 2013||Posted by Christa McGrath under Crime, Fiction, Mystery, Thriller|
Published by Doubleday Canada (a division of Random House)
Reviewed by Christa McGrath
Over the years, I have strayed away from thrillers in favor of drama, romance, or family saga storylines. But I thought it was time to revisit this genre and so opted to review “Shadow Creek”. The title itself certainly hinted towards a suspenseful, thrilling, and perhaps grisly plot. And it delivered.
The premise of the book centers around Val and the weekend she spends with family and friends in the Adirondack Mountains. She is preparing to celebrate her 40th birthday with friends when she finds herself in the middle of an unplanned hiking excursion with her rebellious teenage daughter (Brianne), her two eccentric friends (Melissa and James), and her soon-to-be ex-husband’s fiancée (Jennifer). Through a series of mishaps, Val and her posse find themselves in the middle of the Adirondacks at a time when news of several murders had been reported in the vicinity. Over the course of a few days a lodge guest, a park ranger, and then Val’s daughter go missing. Val worries that Brianne’s disappearance is somehow related to these murders. Meantime, in a nearby cottage, an eccentric young couple plots their next slaughter – a newfound pastime that has seemed to take on a life of its own as this murderous duo become enthralled in the unfathomable high of the kill.
This book is not for the faint of heart. Some of the details are quite gruesome and disturbing to say the least. Fielding does a decent job of pulling you into the mind of a murderer (did I mention the word, “disturbing” yet). She also does a good job of exploring dysfunctional family relationships here while adding a touch of humor. Throw in an absent ex-husband, an old high school friend, and a couple of young teenage boys and it creates the foundation for a soap opera-like setting. This book explores several relationship dynamics while simultaneously creating mystery and suspense as Val desperately tries to find her daughter (and uncover the killer’s identity) before it’s too late. While I enjoyed the character development of Val and her sidekicks for the most part, it is the absence of the husband and the lack of effort of the park rangers and police I found the most frustrating, disappointing and unbelievable given the nature of the storyline.
If you enjoy a good thriller, you will enjoy this book. It does capture your attention and pulls you into an ongoing murderous saga. It may not carry the same heart-pounding quality as most Stephen King thrillers, but it still packs punch. If reading about such gory and disturbing details keeps you up all night worrying about what lurks outside your bedroom window, you may want to skip this one.
To read more about Shadow Creek by Joy Fielding, click here!