Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Books for this ARC. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
SYNOPSIS: When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids.
So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will. (AMAZON)
A witches' curse, a monster hiding in the forest of a small town, and a secret that could destroy many if it comes to the light. This novel was a page-turner!
The Ghost Tree slowly develops without once dulling in storytelling. Christina Henry does a great job of keeping the reader not just invested in this tale, but truly entertained. There are moments that border on creepy—almost scary—and it leads us, bit by bit, into show just how wrong and twisted the history of this town is, along with most of its residents.
There are many details here, and many lines that interconnect—it makes for a rich world. Every time that I thought I had a handle on things, a new twist would be added to keep me on my toes. The myth of the witches' three and how the curse came to be that centers around the missing girls was one of the surprises that I was not expecting, but it was perfectly slipped into the folds of these pages and once it was known, not only did things fall into place but it was the pivotal moment when the entire lie that had been kept over this town started to unravel.
I don't know if it was the 1980s-setting, or the fact that David (who was precious, and such a gift) reminded me slightly of Danny, but I got a Stephen King vibe a few times and I was very much digging it. The Ghost Tree, however, has its own voice and its own style as well, not to be mistaken.
Lauren makes for a lead that, as the teenager that she is, made me feel all the angst that her age defines. She's unwilling to do and be who she finds herself to be, but pushes past that selfishness to help others when she realizes the importance of her role. The one fault that jumped out at me was at the very end, during Lauren's showdown with the monster of the ghost tree. Yes, as the scene describes, it happens far too fast and though I don't exactly want to make the suffering last, things evolved and finished easier than all the pain inflicted on everyone warranted.
All in all, however, there was a mysterious and unnatural ambiance during the whole book that made it that much easier to slip into the world and become part of the story. Despite the dark nature of The Ghost Tree, it's a deeply entertaining book to read.