I enjoy reading mysteries, but I don't do scary at all. And let me warn you, this book is chilling. It's not my kind of book at all at all.
It is a testament to the quality of Nolen's writing that not only did I finish it, once started, I couldn't not finish it, no matter how horrific it became. (I do admit to taking breaks from it to calm down)
One quiet Sunday morning in a village in Cornwall, a ten year old girl, Annie Butler, is abducted. Her kidnapper, Charles, is a serial killer who believes that drinking young girls' blood will make him young again. That premise alone makes the hair on the back of my neck stand up. Yet it gets worse.
Nolan's omniscient narrator takes us inside the heads of the main characters. It's this that makes it disturbing. The narrative weaves its way into the impossible logic of the psychotic Charles, then wends it's way through imprisoned Annie's terror, stays a while with her mother Ruth's frantic panic, and on to DI Jon Graham's desperate sleuthing to find Annie before it is too late. Round and about, each glimpse inside the individual characters' realities ratchets the tension and suspense up.
I won't spoil this for you, but I admit that this is one of those books where midway through, I had to read enough of the end so that I could go back and finish the book without suffering from apoplexy.
If you are a reader of thrillers, then this book is for you. The plot is riveting. The characters are fully developed. This book puts the reader on the Cornish coast, enmeshed in village life and inside the heads of its inhabitants.
It isn't for my elementary school readers, so I'll send my hard copy of the book to our feeder high school. I hope The Dry, the other of Nolan's books I have, is less traumatic.