A TV actress has two missing sisters in this campy debut thriller by Wolfe.
In 2003, Olivia Hill and her middle sister, Gemma, are co-stars on a teenage detective show, The Hills Have PIs, when their youngest sister, Miranda, disappears in Los Angeles. Fifteen years later, Olivia, restyled as Liv Hendricks, is a co-star of Bullsh?t Hunters, a reality show in which four friends "investigate" creepy phenomena, declaring "This one's bullshit!" whenever they uncover a fraud. After Liv is cut from the show for granting a too-honest interview to a blogger, she accepts an offer of $40,000 from "Red_Stranger," who she believes is independent film producer Jonas Kron. The gig is to investigate the real-life disappearances of four women from Dag Road in the "adorably twee" Central California town of Stone's Throw, where Kron created his shocking film The Girl and The Wolf. When Gemma unexpectedly arrives in Stone's Throw, claiming she's worried about Liv, and then disappears, Liv must step up her efforts to find out what happened to the missing women and save Gemma from their fate. Extended flashbacks reveal what happened to Miranda and intersect with the twisty and twisted ending. Some of the characters are one-dimensional, stereotypical, or little more than walk-ons, and the tone veers between comedic and deadly serious. Still, the story is fast-paced as Liv secretly films, texts, and tweets her way through bizarre encounters with a screaming mountain lion, howling wolves, animal masks, a blood-red house, a cabin in the woods, steamy sexual hookups, pie shops, and more.
This novel revels in its weird creepiness and its roots in reality TV shows and horror movies. The conspiracy behind the women's disappearances pushes far past believability but doesn't detract from the fun.