Shadow in the Woods by J.P. Choquette
November 1, 1889--The Green Mountain Daily
Mrs. Veronica Brown of Little River, seeks information on the disappearance of her daughter, Miss Lilian Brown. Widow of the late Charles Brown, an esteemed banker in the Little River area, Mrs. Brown is distraught over her fourteen-year-old daughter's disappearance.
Miss Brown was last seen walking on the logging road east of Little River, and was wearing a red hat and brown coat.
Hunters in the area stated that they had seen an animal of some kind, perhaps a bear, but no evidence has been found to signify that Miss Brown met an untimely death. The local sheriff's department, along with townsfolk, have been searching the area, but no signs of the missing girl have yet been found.
First of all, may I just say that I have no intention ever of taking an 'eco-therapy' weekend. Just look at the first two sentences of the blurb - 'six go into the woods - three come out'! See what I mean?
J.P. Choquette's Shadow in the Woods starts out with a group heading into the Vermont woods for some nature therapy. Addie Preston is a counselor and she's happy to say yes to her colleague's suggestion to accompany him and three of his clients for the weekend. Addie brings along one of her clients as well. Dr. O'Dell tells Addie that he has a lot of experience camping and hiking in the woods, he gives a detailed list of things that each person should bring, and they set off. The weather is supposed to be good and the fresh air and exercise will be beneficial. Only it doesn't quite work out that way. There is a cave and there is something else...and that's all I'll say about the plot.
The author shifts the viewpoint all throughout the story and that works well to keep the tension tight and pace brisk. I liked seeing things from different perspectives. The only thing I might have wished for was a bit more of a back story of the characters' lives and why each was in therapy. A couple of newspaper articles in the beginning do prepare the reader for 'something in the woods' and also make it clear that strange things have happened before in the area. The suspense became intense and I had a good time reading this book - very quickly. Happily, J.P. has recently mentioned that a new book, Silence in the Woods, a prequel to this story, will be published later this spring. I'll definitely be watching for it! If you like spooky stories, this might be one to try.
Six go into the woods. Three come out.
Addie Preston, a new mental health counselor, is flattered when her colleague asks her to co-lead an intensive Ecotherapy weekend for a small group of clients. The band of six head into the remote trails of the Green Mountains.
As a storm engulfs the area, the group takes refuge in a cave off of the trail. No one is prepared for what they will discover.
Or what will discover them.