Anyone who says book bloggers don't sell books or have an influence needs to read this post. Because before I read Jenn's review and Ti's review of this book, I was happily nestled amongst my SIBA books and Jill's Nesbo books, with literally months of uninterrupted fun at the ready. But...I just couldn't resist this one. These two reviews were like double dog dares, and I whipped out my Kindle, bought it and started the story that is sure to be deemed for eternity as "the book that turn you off of air travel".
Synopsis: Chip Linton's life was irreversibly damaged the day a flock of geese flew into the engines of his commercial jet, causing him to attempt a water landing that killed thirty-nine of his passengers. No Sully Sullenberger this time. PTSD symptoms in the form of nightmares and phantom pains force he, his wife Emily and twin daughters to move from Pennsylvania to rural New Hampshire to regain their lives and sanity.
Except they don't find sanity, but an evil that begins to invade every aspect of their existence. The townspeople seem to have a cultish fetish about gardening and have taken an unhealthy interest in the girls. Their old Victorian home has a bloody past with a small wooden door in the basement, bolted shut. And Chip is being visited by his dead passengers, who come with a list of requests.
My thoughts: For those that have heard that the airplane crash scene was brutal (which not only haunts the beginning of the book but is pervasive throughout), they heard right. Bohjalian did his research because this was some graphic business, and one that will probably never ever quite be exorcised from my mind. Just, reader beware.
Beyond that bit of unpleasantness, the story was deliciously creepy. Ghosts, and weird townsfolk and twins and basements with dirt floors. The supernatural and the real collide, and both gave me the heebie jeebies. This was the stuff that fueled many a Stephen King novel, and its a good reliable recipe. And Bohjalian has the writing skills to pull it off. I'm being intentionally vague here, because you need to let this story invade your skull like it did mine, spoiler-free, but there were scenes, people. Ones beyond the plane crash, that made the hairs stand up on my arms and made me fear sleep.
I've seen some people question the ending, it's tone and direction. I loved it. It isn't what you would want necessarily, but it is appropriately chilling and twisted and something you will carry around with you for days.
4.5 out of 5 (Half point taken off for making me afraid to fly)