A road trip in a snowstorm takes a sinister turn for a man and his girlfriend, the novel’s unnamed narrator.
Reid’s preternaturally creepy debut unfolds like a bad dream, the kind from which you desperately want to wake up yet also want to keep dreaming so you can see how everything fits together—or, rather, falls apart. The narrator, known only as the girlfriend, is driving with her beau, Jake, a scientist, to meet his parents at the family farm. The relationship is new, but, as the title implies, she’s already thinking of calling it quits. Jake is somewhat strange and fond of philosophizing, though the tendency to speak in the abstract is something that unites the pair. The weather outside turns nastier, and Reid intercuts the couple’s increasingly tense journey with short interstitial chapters that imply a crime has been committed, though the details are vague. Matters don’t improve when Jake and the narrator arrive at the farm, a hulking collection of buildings in the middle of nowhere. The meeting with her potential in-laws is as awkward as it is frightening, with Reid expertly needling the reader—and the narrator—into a state of near-blind panic with every footfall on a basement step. On the drive back, Jake makes a detour to an empty high school, which will take the couple to new heights of the terrifying and the bizarre.
Reid’s tightly crafted tale toys with the nature of identity and comes by its terror honestly, building a wall of intricately layered psychological torment so impenetrable it’s impossible to escape.