A claustrophobically small Vermont town is an effective setting for this suspenseful supernatural thriller.
A group of friends discovers a pair of binoculars in a cave one night when they’re out drinking in the woods, and each of them but one sees strange images in them that they can’t get out of their minds. When the most dramatic of these visions—a murder—comes true, the five teens panic, trying at once to uncover who the killer is as well as what’s going on with the binoculars and the images they saw. Narrator Riley is a likable, intelligent protagonist, and his attraction to Sarah, who is his best friend’s girlfriend, spins an extra thread of anxiety in to what is already a tension-filled thriller. The rest of the group is similarly well-drawn, each of them distinct and with his or her own secrets, and their bond is very believable, particularly in light of the difficult home lives several of them endure. While the eventual reveal of how the binoculars function is a bit sparse on details, their origin is truly a surprise.
Atmospheric and carefully plotted, this one’s hard to put down. (Thriller. 14-18)