Weekend Reads: Disappearance at Devil’s Rock

Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, Paul Tremblay

© William Morrow

Here’s the thing about growing up in suburban Massachusetts: when someone writes an atmospheric mystery that takes place in familiar towns with familiar landmarks, your hometown becomes more sinister. I didn’t want to put Disappearance at Devil’s Rock down for that reason. I was in the mood for something that would keep me up at night, and Paul Tremblay has written a knock-out. It’s obvious that Tremblay knows Massachusetts, and writes about it with the ease and familiarity that makes the story even creepier. That being said, it’s hard to tell whether that eeriness will translate for all readers. What they might connect with  instead is a single mother’s struggle to comprehend her son’s disappearance, or his friends who, in Stand By Me fashion, are at the heart of this gripping mystery.

Nothing about Tommy Sanderson’s disappearance is simple. One minute he’s with his friend’s at Devil’s Rock, doing whatever it is teenage boys do in the woods, and the next he’s gone. What follows is Elizabeth Sanderson’s search for the truth of what happened that night as she comes to grips with her own frustrations, and sudden, seemingly phantasmagoric happenings. The state police are little help, Tommy’s friends might not be telling the whole truth about their night at Devil’s Rock, and townsfolk (including her own daughter) are claiming to have seen a figure  peering into their windows at night. When pages of Tommy’s diary begin to appear, Elizabeth discovers a troubled teen obsessed with his father’s death, an ancient curse, and an incident he believes connects them all.

Weekend Reads is a Friday column of The Nerd League featuring nuggets of wisdom on the literary world. Our in-house galley virtuoso tends to have the scoop on stuff before it’s even out. To keep up with this week’s pick click here.

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