A camping trip turns deadly for a group of friends as a cackling stalker creeps among the trees, waiting for the perfect moment to strike.
City girl Callie Valasquez agrees to go camping only to impress her new, popular girlfriends, Lissa and Penelope. After moving from Chicago to upstate New York, she’s hoping to foster new friendships like the ones she left behind. Inviting her new boyfriend, Jeremy, doesn’t hurt either. As the group surrounds a glowing fire, Lissa relates the tale of the Skinner, a murderer who committed atrocities in the very woods they sit in and was never found. Of course, it isn’t long before things begin to go awry. Jeremy and Penelope topple off a bridge into a river, losing their supplies and barely making it out alive. Then a charming stranger appears, offering to help. But can he be trusted? As the group falls apart, and trust begins to crumble, a watcher in the woods creeps in. Callie and her friends teeter on the clichéd, with Lissa acting as the over-the-top alpha and Callie as the frightened new girl finding her footing. But Scott weaves palpable tension and masterfully ramps it up toward a truly thrilling conclusion. Cinematically paced, it’s tough to put it down.
Readers will be kept up late, shocked to discover the depth of the darkness that lies in the woods. (Suspense. 12-18)