Saturday 3 December 2022

WILD PLACE by Christian White


Wild PlaceWild Place by Christian White
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yesterday I decided to go through some of the books I've found in local Street Libraries, to see what did and didn't grab my attention. By the time I got to this one, I stopped because I couldn't put it down.

It's December 1989 and in the small town of Camp Hill, a teenage girl has gone missing. As the weeks go by, her parents suspect everyone. Did she run away? Was she taken? Maybe there's something more sinister stirring in the shadows...

Well, I was pretty much hooked as soon as I read the Prologue. I found the story to be interesting and once everyone on the street is slowly introduced, I was intrigued by the inquisitive nature of humans. And how quick they are to form judgement without really knowing/understanding what's going on.

I think the way the Satanic Panic was captured, in the middle of an Australian town just before 1990 kicked in, is so well done that I couldn't turn away. The easy way adults on this street convince themselves they know who took this young girl and why—just because someone is a little different, likes heavy metal and knows what a pentagram is—was truly atrocious. Also confirms how quickly the wave of condemnation can spread if left unchecked.

This book features several POVs. One of these is Tom. A married, middle-aged high school English teacher who finds himself drawn into the mystery of who took Tracie. He wants to help, goes out of his way to find clues, and inadvertently fans the flames of suspicion against someone who is different without any evidence. He's a good man with good intentions (well, that's the image he tries to sell to others), but because of him, everything gets turned upside down and once the target is placed, it's hard to contain the mob. Or a parent suffering the worst kind of loss.

I really enjoyed this book. The story is intricate and told through several different angles. Not just in POVs, but also in the bad deeds, secrets and lies that are slowly revealed about these seemingly average characters. And the worst most awful, also frustrating reveal, is the twists that lead to the truth about what happened to Tracie Reed.

Great book. Very intriguing thriller with a captivating mystery that'll keep you guessing until the end. And then, will definitely upset and frustrate you when you know everything. In a good way.

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