A girl descended from witches becomes entangled in a lethal mystery.
Taking place in a shared universe with Ernshaw’s The Wicked Deep (2018), this novel is set in a mountainous lakeside area in the Pacific Northwest. The few year-round residents include the Walker family—witches—and those living at the Jackjaw Camp for Wayward Boys. The night of a terrible winter storm, one boy goes missing and another dies. Two weeks later, in the dangerous Wicker Woods, Nora Walker miraculously finds Oliver Huntsman. Oliver remembers nothing of how he survived the winter conditions. Nora warms him up and returns him to the camp; unsettled and untrusting of his cabin mates, he keeps returning to her. When Nora learns of the other camper’s death, she follows a thread of suspicion that the missing and dead boys’ fates are related—though she wants to trust Oliver, she can’t be sure. She wishes she had a nightshade, like the Walkers before her—a special magical gift like those chronicled in chapter interludes from the family spellbook that contain brief biographies capped by a spell. She knows enough to recognize that the bone moth she keeps seeing is an imminent death omen. The claustrophobic mystery unwinds at an accelerating pace for the undersupervised teens, and the malicious, haunting Wicker Woods are lovingly characterized and as compelling as the formidable heroine. Most characters seem to default to white.
A delectably immersive, eerie experience. (Paranormal thriller. 12-adult)