4 out of 4 stars
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Still reeling over the death of her beloved husband, Kelly and her eight-year-old son move to a new town after learning that her husband had inherited a victorian-style home right before he passed away. Despite the gnawing grief of being a young widow and a newly single mother, Kelly is eager to make Marysville feel like home for her and her son TJ.
As they begin settling in, TJ insists that he's been hearing weeping coming from the Alexa device in his bedroom. At first, Kelly thinks he must be imagining it, but when a terrified TJ calls out for her one night, there is no mistaking the crying and distress coming from the device. It's the voice of a little girl begging for help.
Everyone in the small town has seen the photo of the missing five-year-old, Marilee Harmon. Kelly doesn't recognize the girl, but the name immediately resonates with her and fills her with a sense of dread. She could have sworn the voice emanating from the Alexa device cried out Marilee's name. What was the voice trying to tell Kelly, and how is it connected to the missing girl?
Under the Willows by Pamela McCord is a spine-chilling thriller that had me constantly looking over my shoulder and being thankful for never purchasing one of those trendy devices. The book is told from the first-person perspective. It follows Kelly Harris as she is haunted by the ghost of a child and finds herself entangled in the search for a missing girl.
First, I want to applaud the author for expertly crafting one of the creepiest books that I have read in quite some time. I don't scare easily, but knowing that devices can pick up on other frequencies, such as baby monitors, gave me the feeling like this could actually happen. That in itself had me shivering in fear. Beyond that, the gusts of cold air that signaled the presence of a ghost followed by the forceful slamming of doors had me sleeping with the lights on for a few nights—I wish I was joking.
Another thing that I enjoyed about the book was the sparks flying between Kelly and Detective Rob. I like how the author flirted with the possibility of romance materializing between the two without taking away from the story's central conflict. Kelly was still grieving the loss of her husband, and Rob was respectful of that. Still, between the stolen looks and the growing attraction, it was hard to ignore the tension between them.
There was nothing to dislike about the book. The editing was exceptionally top-notch, and I didn't find a single error which was very impressive. The book flowed effortlessly from the very first page, and before I knew it, I was reading the thrilling conclusion. It was an engrossing story that pulled me in and didn't let go, and I loved every minute of it! With that being said, I have chosen to give the book a rating of four out of four stars. It had all the necessary ingredients to cook up an addictive page-turner—a serving of terror, followed by a mixture of heart-pumping action, and topped off with a sprinkle of romance to make it even more enticing.
I would recommend the book to readers who like scary stories with a supernatural twist. Also, those who love a small-town mystery will enjoy putting the clues together. I would not recommend the book to readers who don't enjoy being scared; this has many shiver-inducing scenes.
Under the Willows
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