My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Caroline Mitchell’s The Village opens spectacularly, grabbing the interest of the reader. A family of three who vanishes without a trace is surely a plotline that captures the attention even if one is not a fan of thrillers and Caroline Mitchell has the additional benefit of having worked as a detective and her talent in creating a claustrophobic atmosphere in stories is one of the best out there.
The Village of Nighbrook with its antagonistic residents is not a place that one would wish to live in, but true crime journalist Naomi has no qualms in dragging her new family to Ivy Cottage in Nighbrook as her obsessed mind wouldn’t let go of the Harper family who has vanished without a trace. Her husband Ed is clueless about the house’s history but her stepdaughter Morgan, aware of the past hidden inside the rafters is simply filled with glee in finding an opportunity to torture her step-mom. Naomi’s characterization was confusing, she comes across initially as this laser focussed obsessed woman with no thought about her family’s welfare but then changes direction to the caring stepmom and wife once the true horror of the cottage reveals itself.
The family dynamics create a tense background to the story that unfolds in the village with the arrival of the Ward family in Nighbrook. The small town culture and the phobia of the long held secret have been wonderfully layered into the story, but I did wish for a more tense and menacing atmosphere especially with a cottage surrounded by woods. I have read a few other books by the author and have found them quite compelling but The Village didn’t evoke the kind of goosebump worthy terror that I expected. Another factor that worked against me was that I had guessed almost all the reveals in the story which was kind of a bummer for my reading experience.
The Village is definitely a solid thriller but if you are a first time reader, I would strongly recommend reading the author’s The Perfect Mother or the Silent Twin for that perfect creepy vibe.
Many thanks to Net Galley, Thomas & Mercer publishing, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
From the bestselling author of the DI Amy Winter series comes a thriller about a shocking disappearance—and the village that has conspired to keep the truth buried.
Ten years ago, the Harper family disappeared. Their deserted cottage was left with the water running, the television playing cartoons, the oven ready for baking. The doors were locked from the inside.
Overnight, the sleepy village of Nighbrook became notorious as the scene of the unsolved mystery of the decade, an epicentre for ghoulish media speculation.
For crime journalist Naomi, solving the case has turned into an obsession. So now, with Ivy Cottage finally listed for sale, it’s her chance to mount an investigation like no other. And her husband and stepdaughter don’t really need to know what happened in their new home… do they?
But Nighbrook isn’t quite the village she expected. No one wants to talk to her. No one will answer her questions. And as she becomes increasingly uneasy, it’s clear that the villagers are hiding something—that there is something very dark at the heart of this rural idyll. And the deeper she digs, the more it seems her investigation could be more dangerous than she ever imagined… In raking up the secrets of the past, has she made her own family the next target?
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