James Clearwater, an awkward thirteen year old has a lonely childhood. He doesn't make friends very easily until he meets AJ. Andrew Jones is vibrant, fun and more importantly accepts James just as he is. They soon become firm friends until Mercy Worthington is murdered. No-one knows what happened and they can't find her body. James' father decides to move the family out of Oakridge - but James can't forget Mercy, a girl he thought he could get to know and even one day marry.
Fast forward a few years and James is now eighteen and his family have returned to the town where the memories of a young girl resurface. James preferred the anonymity of Ohio but resigns himself to excel at school so he can leave the small town life far behind him. He meets up with AJ again and isn't as strong as he'd like to be to to walk away from his boisterous friend. But James also becomes concerned with him especially when girls they've met at a party, the cinema, school - straight A students - suddenly go missing.
The headaches and blackouts that James suffered are returning. Plus he's stopped taking the medication given to him by his doctor in Ohio. Coupled with the disturbing dreams, he sees a ghost and is increasingly hostile towards his parents. When he summons the courage to go to the police about his suspicions of AJ he is puzzled about their lackluster response. Isn't AJ responsible? If not, who is?
From the opening page, I was hooked. Salazar has created a creepy and disturbing novel which I couldn't put down. The characters are rich and even though its told through the eyes of James, there is no sense of missing out of what others may be thinking. The authors descriptions are concise yet there is a depth to James and his surroundings. Whilst I felt the story was a little predictable - I guessed the outcome more or less from the beginning - it doesn't mar the story in any way. I still wanted to know how Salazar would weave this tale. She builds the tension beautifully for it to reach its climax a few chapters from the end. Yet, there is a twist that I didn't expect.
Well written, the chapters flow seamlessly to create a haunting tale that will leave you thinking about it days after. A highly recommended read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author for review. The opinions expressed are my own and I am not expected to give a positive critique.