1980s Small town America, and two young girls are found brutally torn apart within the unnerving forest of Smith’s Hollow. Local teenager Lauren is having debiliatating visions of the attack, despite not having witnessed it; her best friend Miranda is more interested in losing her virginity than hanging out with her; Lauren’s little brother is stoically aware of details no 4 year old should know and newly arrived big city cop Alex Lopez is nonplussed to find out just how unfazed the community is. On top of all this, Lauren’s father was also brutally murdered and not only has the murder not been solved, but Lauren seems to be the only one who still cares.
The Ghost Tree has a lot going on in it but it’s all expertly woven together into a gorey bloody horror with an intriguing narrative, particularly as the legacy of the town in uncovered. It felt a little odd to go from gorey to mythology as opposed to a psychological build up and a gorey climax, but I actually enjoyed the flip of expectation.
Henry explores small town divisions, racism, misogyny and the repercussions of letting hate and anger guide your decisions in an original new fairytale full of witches; curses; monsters; the pain of coming of age and re-shaping your relationships with friends and family as you grow in and out of them.
A great October read full of atmosphere, tension and blood.