A Manhattan power couple survive a tragedy and attempt a fresh start only to be plagued by unexplained and disastrous occurrences...be careful what you wish for. At the age of nine, growing up in the French countryside, Julien Grenier witnessed the brutal murder of his grandfather. Now, at forty-five, he continues to be plagued by horrific nightmares and reenactments of that tragic event. Living a successful though austere lifestyle on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Julien has recreated himself, building emotional walls that even his young wife cannot penetrate. Though somewhat moody, Julien is a good man with a heart of gold, and a great sense of loyalty and responsibility; enabling his wife, Rachael, to turn a blind eye to his tightly-kept secrets. Rachael is thirty-two years old; an art dealer and playful free spirit, but after a home invasion assault leaves her emotionally unstable and destroys their care-free and content world, they relocate to a safer environment with the hope of a fresh start. Kings Hollow is a quaint town, nestled in the serene Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. At first, their new home appears to be the miracle they prayed for, until a traditional children's game begins to destroy their bliss; Rachael is no longer herself and Julien is experiencing a string of bad luck and unfortunate accidents. At the center of it all is seventeen-year-old Sarah, a part-time caretaker on the property. Can Julien and Rachael escape the nightmare of Kings Hollow...or is this just Wishful thinking?
If you overlook his regular nightmares, Julien is an average guy with his heart in the right place. As a child, watching your grandfather get brutally murdered is bound to affect anybody and that is what haunts Julien in his nightmares. As an adult in his forties, Julien is happily married and settled with Rachel, an artist. They are happy in their lives until a break-in and an attack on Rachel leaves their world shattered. As slowly succumbs to the trauma of her experience, a desperate Julien uproots themselves and settles down in a country home. They plan for a fresh start in a new home at King’s Hollow. The Victorian house in this small town seemed perfect to Julien, the only disadvantage being the chicken that came with the house. But then they have Sarah to take care of the chickens for them. Just when they were starting to settle down again, a wishbone game brings in another storm in their lives.
The story is narrated through Julien, Rachel and Sarah. Though at times the changes were abrupt, I found it very interesting to read the story through three very different personalities. Julien is a strong man with a good heart. I admit that being an eye-witness to a brutal murder is not an experience that one can just share with everybody – but he should have shared it with his wife. Rachel on the other hand is a loving and practical woman. She knows that her husband has his secrets but instead of pushing him she gives him his space. I like them both even with their short comings.
The plot is startling and reminds me of Stephen King novels. Every now and then you may be able to predict what is going to happen – but the number of times the plot will take you by surprise is certainly going to be higher. It was gripping and I ‘had to’ finish reading it in a day as whenever I put it down, I couldn’t concentrate on anything else! The writing style of the author also balances nicely with the plot and the setting, making it even more delicious.
This is a fantastic Debut and I would gladly recommend this book to any Horror-Thriller enthusiasts and especially to Stephen King, Michael Crichton and W.W.Jacob Fans.