61gr87+7x+L._SX325_BO1,204,203,200_Disappearance At Devil’s Rock
Paul Tremblay
William Morrow
June 21, 2016
Reviewed by Josh Black

Disappearance At Devil’s Rock opens with Elizabeth Anderson receiving an early morning phone call and a parent’s nightmare come true – the terrible revelation that her teenage son Tommy has gone missing. The rest of the novel deals with the search for him, mainly from the perspectives of his closest friends and family. Some of the events leading to Tommy’s disappearance are brought to light along the way, coinciding with a series of inexplicable events. Shadow figures are spotted lurking about the town and in the Anderson house. Pages of Tommy’s diary appear seemingly out of nowhere, leading Elizabeth down a rabbit hole the likes of which she’d never begun to imagine.

Point of view is switched often throughout, which could be a pitfall, but Tremblay knows what he’s doing. He skillfully portrays the thoughts and personalities of each character (including Tommy through his diary entries) as they deal with things in their own particular way. As ingrained in the story as they are, the encroaching supernatural aspects are of the low-key variety. The most horrific scenes in the novel are few in number, human in nature, and rendered in all too perfect detail.

While it works for the most part, the balancing act going on here between literary fiction and suspense sometimes hews too far to the former, and the pacing suffers for it. As three-dimensional as the characters are, some of the more internally descriptive passages tend to be mundane musing rather than revealing anything. Despite this, there’s enough of a hook that most readers should be intrigued enough to see the book through, and there are some brilliant and haunting passages. Much is left open to interpretation, which works to the story’s benefit. It works as a subtly spooky character study, and if that’s what you’re looking for, Disappearance At Devil’s Rock should be on your radar.

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