Total Star Rating: 3.75 Stars
A twisting road in the middle of a freak snowstorm, you can barely see out your front windows, and your phone is at about 11% battery life. There’s a random rest stop up ahead, so you go to what you believe is safety and warmth; another regular night stuck somewhere while winter continues with its wrathful winds.
Little would you realize the absolute horror that you’re about to walk into…
After hearing a mostly good reception to this book, I decided to give it a try, and I certainly wasn’t disappointed! I was actually surprised that it turned out better than I expected; It was incredibly cinematic, as in I definitely could see this book being made into a movie. The overall story is simple and easy to follow with plenty of thrills and twists to put viewers at the edge of their seats, pounding away at their popcorn.
What It’s About:
Darby (the main character) gets stuck in a brutal snowstorm while driving on her way home for the holidays. She sees an exit for a rest stop just up the road, and while having to resort to hand wipe her windshield, she parks amongst the handful of cars and goes inside to meet the small group in the same boat. What really gets the story started is when Darby just happens to spot a small, human hand against a dog cage in the back of a van. Darby finds out one of the people she’s stuck with is a kidnapper, and worse…she has no idea who it is. Which one of them is it? Who can she trust to tell this terrible secret? Who will help her? Can she figure it out and get the girl out to safety before the night is over?
What I liked:
- Plot Twist After Plot Twist! Initially, it starts off pretty obvious who the kidnapper is, but the author turned out to be a master of making things not what they appear to be, and they added about five more twists into the story to make sure the reader had no idea how deep this story truly went. I was so shocked by the big reveals that I couldn’t put it down until 5 am the next morning!
- Attention to Details! The thing I love about thrillers, like this story, is how you have to pay attention to EVERYTHING mentioned in the text; from what is said to what is done, even to whatever the character picks up and touches, and wonder what role it plays or how significant it is. This story is loaded with them.
- The Character Development! Darby, of course, was the most defined, and it was fun to read how she developed as the story went on. She starts off as a typical college girl, but as the story unfolds, she becomes a more three dimensional character. While she is likable with some good qualities, the author adds a tense relationship with her mother to show that while she is the hero, she’s not entirely sweet and innocent, aka the “Mary Sue” character. In fact, some flashback scenes show that Darby was actually a huge brat when she was home. She made some questionable calls, made mistakes, but ultimately came into her own and was a great protagonist that readers wanted to cheer for to come out on top.
What I Didn’t Like:
- The Strange Midpoint…For some reason around pages 150-170, it felt like the story could’ve been over, and it would’ve been fine if it did end at that mark, but like I said earlier, the author adds so much more depth to the story that I’m glad he didn’t; there was indeed a method to the madness. It was a weird moment, and before reading on, I definitely questioned it “how does this story keep going on?”
Overall, I say this title is another great addition to anyone who wants a creepy, edge of your seat, What could possibly happen next? kind of mystery, suspense thriller. Just a warning though: you might not be able to put it down once you open it, nor will you ever wish to park at a rest stop in the middle of winter ever again!
Thanks for Reading!
— Nick Goodsell