Wednesday 21 December 2022



This is the story of a house.

The cabin lies deep in the woods, where the trees are so dense it's easy to miss. On the outside it might look like it's crumbling, crawling with weeds, but on the inside it's warm and cosy. A fire crackles in the fireplace. Dinner simmers on the stove.

Maya once saw this cabin as an idyllic place, like a cottage from a fairy tale, but now she knows the danger that lurks beneath. The summer she visited the cabin was the summer her best friend Aubrey died.

Now, another woman from Maya's hometown has died in the same strange, unexplained way, and Maya believes only she can save the next innocent girl.

Guided by her fractured memory and a mysterious, unfinished book by her late father, Maya returns home to face the house in the pines and the man who waits there - the man she's tried so hard to forget . . .

The premise of this book sounded so intriguing, I had to check it out. I mean, it ticks several boxes guaranteed to hook me in: a psychological thriller, a cabin in the woods, and a dark secret from the past coming back to haunt the troubled narrator.

Of course I was interested.

Maya has been hiding her addiction for a while. An addiction that started shortly after her best friend died. The friend she's convinced was mysteriously killed by a man from her past, but no one believed her. Now he's back and he's taken another life. Will anyone believe her this time? The only way to be sure is to return to her hometown to face the truth...

I really enjoyed this creepy thriller. From the start, both the storytelling style and Maya's voice sets an almost foggy stage for everything that she went through when she was seventeen, and what she's going through as an adult.

Maya is an interesting character who suffered an awful ordeal when she was a teenager and even seven years later, still doubts herself. She also, constantly, makes a bunch of bad decisions that get her deeper into trouble. Even if she keeps convincing herself she's doing the opposite. That she drowns her sorrows with alcohol to clear her head doesn't help. But sure adds to the disorienting atmosphere this story takes.

I loved how her father's unfinished manuscript and her Guatemalan roots tied into everything—both past and present.

The House in the Pines is as imaginative and clever, as it is disturbing. The mystery of what really happened the afternoon Maya's friend died kept me glued to the pages until I found out the truth. Not to mention that as difficult as it was to agree with so many of Maya's decisions, she was easy to sympathise with. She was one of those characters that is trying so hard to do the right thing and has good intentions, but goes about things in a very unconventional way.

One final note: I'm also one of those people who has to know how the story ends. 😬

Thank you Hachette Australia for sending me a copy of this awesome book.

The House in the Pines, January 2023, ISBN 9781408717691, Constable

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