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Disappearance at Devil's Rock: A Novel Kindle Edition
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A family is shaken to its core after the mysterious disappearance of a teenage boy in this eerie tale, a blend of literary fiction, psychological suspense, and supernatural horror from the author of A Head Full of Ghosts.
“A Head Full of Ghosts scared the living hell out of me, and I’m pretty hard to scare,” raved Stephen King about Paul Tremblay’s previous novel. Now, Tremblay returns with another disturbing tale sure to unsettle readers.
Late one summer night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace in the woods of a local park.
The search isn’t yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy’s disappearance. Feeling helpless and alone, their sorrow is compounded by anger and frustration: the local and state police have uncovered no leads. Josh and Luis, the friends who were the last to see Tommy before he vanished, may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were supposedly hanging out a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil’s Rock.
Living in an all-too-real nightmare, riddled with worry, pain, and guilt, Elizabeth is wholly unprepared for the strange series of events that follow. She believes a ghostly shadow of Tommy materializes in her bedroom, while Kate and other local residents claim to see a shadow peering through their windows in the dead of night. Then, random pages torn from Tommy’s journal begin to mysteriously appear—entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the woods of Borderland; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connects them.
As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more haunting and sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about that night and Tommy’s disappearance at Devil’s Rock.
From the Publisher
Paul Tremblay talks with Michael Koryta
Michael Koryta is the author of Rise The Dark (on sale 8/16/16).
MK: I absolutely loved Disappearance At Devil's Rock, and central to that was how beautifully shocking the final act was, featuring a revelation that was both stunning and logical. Did you work toward that ending from the start, or begin with the opening scenario and no known destination?
PT: Thank you, Michael. I started with a vague notion of a teenager mysteriously disappearing from a local state park and didn't know where it would go from there. I knew that I wanted to take a realistic approach to the teen's disappearance and introduce a sense of maybe-supernatural uncertainty, dread, and melancholy that would hopefully accumulate as the novel progressed. I then spent a month outlining, guessing, and eventually figuring out what may or may not have happened to Tommy Sanderson.
MK: The emotional ache of absence is present here in so many layers. Did that drain you at times, to go so deeply and honestly into the hearts of these characters?
PT: It was a bit emotionally tiring to be honest and by the end of it I was ready to write a happy, breezy comedy. Shh, don't tell my editor!
To help detach somewhat, I made sure that Tommy Sanderson was a totally different person in my head than any of my loved ones. I also focused not on what I would do in response to the scenarios in the novel, but on what these characters would do or say. That said, it was impossible to not put myself in Elizabeth Sanderson's shoes at times.
MK: Writing from a child's point of view is a tightrope act—and you nailed it. How did you go about achieving such authenticity with those voices?
PT: Besides being a parent of two children who are close to the ages of the kids involved in the novel, I've been a high school math teacher and basketball coach ever since graduate school. I'm generally awash in teen-speak. I pay close attention to what they say and how they say it, the slang and sayings that cycle in and out of style. For the writer-me, teaching is an everyday lesson in teen voices and a window to their emotional lives, and even how and what they might be thinking/hiding even when they're not saying much.
Also, I still feel like a big kid most of the time. I've always lived according to the seasonal cycles of the school calendar: the joy of summer and depression of September. Being permanently fixed in that kid schedule has warped my brain and I wouldn't have it any other way.
MK: The supernatural is presented here as possibility, an uncertainty, a debate, and individual readers will land in different places with it. I love that, but I wondered if you felt pulled at times to take it more directly toward that or to lean farther back from it? It's a fantastic, haunting result.
PT: I love how you describe the supernatural as possibility. Maybe the supernatural is the stuff in the cracks of things, existing in the in-between places. I try to approach the supernatural element skeptically or realistically, meaning that if a supernatural event were to intrude in our real lives, I don't think it would be obvious or instantly recognizable, and it certainly wouldn't be easy to explain, and we'd be hesitant to believe it happened. That doesn't mean it isn’t there though, yeah? With both A Head Full Of Ghosts (my last novel) and Disappearance At Devil's Rock, I wanted to make the most overtly horrific parts of the books the real parts, the "this-could-really-happen" parts, and have what lingers or haunts the reader afterward to be those ambiguities and possibilities.
“Paul Tremblay is an astonishingly talented writer, but even better, he’s twisted, and fun. A Head Full of Ghosts is mind-bending—scary, sad, sweet, funny, sick. ... . Terrifying, hilarious, smart, and satisfying.” (Stewart O'Nan, author of The Speed Queen, The Night Country, and A Prayer for the Dying)
“Tremblay expertly ratchets up the suspense until the tension is almost at its breaking point.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“[B]rilliantly creepy.” (Library Journal)
“The novel is stylishly written and well-conceived.” (Booklist)
“Gripping and truly scary, this book feels of the moment in a way few thrillers do.” (B&N Reads)
“[A] scary story, indeed.” (BookPage)
“A mind-bending tale of psychological horror is unleashed, raising disturbing questions about memory and reality, science and religion, and the very nature of evil.” (Buzzfeed)
“…progressively gripping and suspenseful — (Tremblay’s) ultimate, bloodcurdling revelation is as sickeningly satisfying as it is masterful.” (NPR Books)
“[A] creepy, interesting read, great for horror fans.” (SFRevu)
“Loved it. Highly recommended for anyone who loves engrossing literary horror-undertones of The House of Leaves (but far more accessible) and The Exorcist, and redolent of Shirley Jackson.” (Ellen Datlow)
“Dark, brilliant, and impossible to predict, [this] is more than a perfect horror story. It’s a smart and savage look at American culture in all its madness, and the price girls are forced to pay by a society obsessed with spectacle and sin.” (Cara Hoffman, author of So Much Pretty and Be Safe I Love You)
“A Head Full of Ghosts doesn’t end just because you close the book. Some horror, it bleeds through the pages, gets onto your hands, stays with you. You’ll be thinking about this one long after you’ve read it.” (Stephen Graham Jones, author of Demon Theory and Ledfeather)
“A genuinely scary, post-modern homage to classic horror that invokes Stanley Kubrik and Shirley Jackson in equal measure, but also manages to innovate on nearly every page. [It] is unlike any horror novel you’ve read, and yet hauntingly, frighteningly familiar.” (Sara Gran, author of Claire DeWitt and the City of the Dead and Come Closer)
“Part psychological thriller, part demonic possession horror, this book is a juicy, fast-paced genre bombshell that just happens to be one of the smartest novels you’ll read this year.” (The Life Sentence)
“A Head Full of Ghosts is one of the best novels released this year. ...Paul Tremblay confirms what we already knew: he’s one of the greatest horror writers today.” (This is Horror (UK))
“By turns horrifying, very funny, melancholy, ironic and, with each page, dazzlingly original, A Head Full of Ghosts is a one-book rocket ride through contemporary society where, if Evil doesn’t actually exist in a Biblical sense, we’re just the folks to invent it on our own.” (The Day newspaper)
“This will easily be remembered as one of the most powerfully disquieting and deeply unsettling novels of the year, and may mark something of a turning point in the mainstream horror genre.” (Shock Totem)
“Paul Tremblay’s terrific A Head Full of Ghosts generates a haze of an altogether more serious kind: the pleasurable fog of calculated, perfectly balanced ambiguity.” (New York Times Book Review) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Late one night, Elizabeth Sanderson receives the devastating news that every mother fears: her thirteen-year-old son, Tommy, has vanished without a trace.
The search isn't yielding any answers, and Elizabeth and her young daughter, Kate, struggle to comprehend Tommy's disappearance. Their feelings of helplessness and sorrow are compounded by anger and frustration: the police have uncovered no leads. The two friends who were with Tommy before he vanished may not be telling the whole truth about that night in Borderland State Park, when they were hanging out at a landmark the local teens have renamed Devil's Rock.
Elizabeth is unprepared for the strange events that follow. She believes she sees Tommy's ghost in her bedroom, while Kate and other residents claim to see a figure peering through their windows at night. Random pages torn from Tommy's journal begin to mysteriously appear--entries that reveal an introverted teenager obsessed with the phantasmagoric; the loss of his father, killed in a drunk-driving accident a decade earlier; a folktale involving the devil and the Borderland woods; and a horrific incident that Tommy believed connected them all.
As the search grows more desperate, and the implications of what happened become more sinister, no one is prepared for the shocking truth about Tommy's disappearance at Devil's Rock.--Kirkus Reviews --This text refers to an alternate kindle_edition edition.
- ASIN : B015MO7OGQ
- Publisher : William Morrow; Illustrated edition (June 21, 2016)
- Publication date : June 21, 2016
- Language : English
- File size : 5017 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 333 pages
- Lending : Not Enabled
- Best Sellers Rank: #171,273 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
About the author
Reviewed in the United States on March 20, 2019
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Top reviews from the United States
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I was torn between four and five stars here, and only went with four because it just seemed the ending came too quickly and was too standard for how good the rest of the book was. With that said, I haven't been this scare by a book in a long time.
This is a very good book.
I'm almost glad the book is just OK. Otherwise the story would have devastated me.
A family is in crisis when 13-year Tommy goes missing. His
younger sister and his mom are trying to live with their grief and to find answers.
Good luck with that because very few answers are provided.
An ambiguous ending is not the problem for me. It's more a matter of being able to suspend belief while I'm reading. Some books capture me no matter how implausible the storyline. That didn't happen with this book.
The kids in this affluent area doing what they did is a big stretch for me because of how they are otherwise portrayed. Perhaps if their supposed misfit status at school were described a bit, or something...anything... to explain the violent event that sets everything in motion.
Or I could be out of touch with the times (if so I'm thankful).
In his author notes, Tremblay states that middle-school boys in the area really say things like "chirps" and "hardo" but regardless, would they say them that often? Ditto for the characters of all ages beginning or ending statements with "yeah" as in "you saw that, yeah?"
Works a few times, but not with overuse.
Based on A Head Full of Ghosts,
I'd say Paul Tremblay can write. Unfortunately Disappearance is not as good as A Head Full of Ghosts.
Disappearance is more like a crime novel. I like good crime novels when they work but something's missing in this book.
Definitely a disturbing and very sad story. Much like some of Megan Abbott's books make me feel for parents of teenage girls, I wouldn't want to read Disappearance at Devil's Rock if I were a parent of 13-year-old boys.
Top reviews from other countries
I couldn’t help but feel that the ending of the story, what happened to Tommy the night he disappeared, was very similar to the excellent and unnerving Australian film ‘Lake Mungo’ and wondered if this is where Tremblay drew his inspiration.
An uncomfortable, frightening read which I enjoyed and will definitely read more by Tremblay.
It builds up with lots of interesting (sometimes supernatural) plot clues but at the end they seem to be forgotten about.
Give it a go since the ebook is cheap and it’s good overall
This is a story of every mothers worst nightmare, a son missing and strange occurrences in the aftermath.
I don't want to give the plot away for other readers but it is definitely a plot that keeps you guessing and a plot that stays with you.
the characters are well written especially the central character of tommy. the extracts of his writing add a frightening touch!
the mother Elizabeth is also well written and you could sense her desperation seeping out of each and every page!