Disappearance at Devil's Rock

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Disappearance At Devil's Rock 
by Paul Tremblay
Narrated by Erin Bennett
Mystery/Thriller
Released: June 2016
Audiobook 12+ Hours
A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale, a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.

Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her fourteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.

The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend his disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration. The local and state police haven’t uncovered any leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were with Tommy last, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out at a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock— rumored to be cursed. 

Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their own windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all and changes everything. 

As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened becomes more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.

My Thoughts
This is a slower paced mystery about a missing 14-year-old boy, his devastated mother and his heartbroken sister. It is a good story but it is not a horror novel. Do not be led astray like me.

A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale, a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.

I think I missed the supernatural horror bits. First The Turner House disappoints with its false ghost promises and now there’s this one. Damn, I am totally striking out in January.

Anyway, I listened to this book on audio and though it was too long and I drifted here and there, I never felt an urge to shut it off. I’d probably give it a 3 ½ but I’ll bump it up to a 4 because it was quite a bit better than “meh”.

The story revolves around what really happened the day (or was it night? The mind fails me once again) Tommy and his two pals went out to Devil’s Rock to do something . . . Tommy’s two buddies returned home safe and sound but Tommy did not. Now it’s up to Tommy’s mom to piece together exactly what happened. When Tommy’s diaries pages start appearing out of the ether she begins to question everything.

And I don’t blame her. I really felt compassion for Tommy’s mom. She was a well written character and even had some realistic flaws, eventually breaking down and losing her cool. I loved to read that. It made the story come alive for me.

Basically, the story is one long, slow reveal of what happened prior to that fateful day (evening?) at Devil’s Rock. It’s set in the present day but the past is shown via the diary entries and through flashbacks and that's all I'm going to say so I don't spoil the reveals for you.

It's an enjoyable thriller only marred by too much inane and repetitive dialogue between the boys. They are teenagers and their conversations always go a little like this:

Josh: Anyone up for Mindcraft?

Luis: Mindcraft is AWESOME man but dad says I need to get homework done tonight.

Tommy: Your dad is such a Hard-o! (I did not mean hard-on pervy spellcheck)

Josh: Chirps!


They have their own lingo, which is normal for most teen boys, but that doesn’t mean it’s fun to read and, believe me, it's even less fun to listen to. Almost immediately that lingo annoyed me and when the boys were together it never let up.

The narrator, Erin Bennett, does a decent job with the work but she's just a little too polished at times and I did feel pulled out of the story quite a few times, especially when she calls out a name before speaking their dialogue. I’m not sure if it was a narrator choice or if the book was written that way but it was off-putting and kind of strange.

The actual mystery is doled out slowly as it should be, I take no issue with that. I only wish the book had been pruned a bit where the silly conversations and sometimes repetitive scenes were involved.

Challenge Update

Comments

  1. Sounds like it could be interesting, to bad there was no supernatural to make it cooler...lol. :)

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  2. Yeah, this wasn't my favorite book. I had a lot of issues with the pace, I was just BORED for so much of it. Also, I really got tired of the boys' lingo, it just didn't feel natural to me. I have kids and they certainly never talked like that!

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    Replies
    1. Ugh, that lingo. My son and his friend used to speak in a doofus language but it was never as bad as these kids!

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  3. So not a winner, huh? That's too bad. Sounds like it could've been a lot better. Hope your next one doesn't disappoint! :)

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lark. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't my favorite ;)

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  4. I immediately thought that the author's name looked really familiar. I bought A Head Full of Ghosts a year or so ago but haven't read it yet. It sounds like maybe reading this one would be better than listening. Great review!

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    1. I've heard nothing but good things about Head Full of Ghosts so maybe I'll like that one better. Yeah, I really wouldn't do this on audio, if I were you.

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  5. The summary sounds so very good, too bad the actual story didn't fully live up to that. It's always strange to me when a book is being pushed as a certain genre, and ends up not really fitting to that...
    Great review!
    Lexxie @ (un)Conventional Bookviews

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, I'm finding a lot of the blurbs misleading lately.

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  6. Here's hoping your next one has the horror bits front and centre! The Blurb here sounds incredibly interesting, but i wonder if the pacing might frustrate me.

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    1. Thanks Verushka, the read I just finished lived up to its promises so things are looking up for February!

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  7. I was planning to write a catch up review on this one soon, but I may have to reread it a bit. I'm having trouble remembering much. :( It just didn't stick with me.

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    Replies
    1. Yep, same thing happens to me. I have to take notes on most books or it all leaves me as soon as I dig into the next one.

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