Three teens become trapped by a terrifying cult when they stumble into a strange town after breaking down in a remote area.
Seventeen-year-old Dee, her boyfriend, Luke, and his brother, Mike, on their way to a concert, take a back road to save time and run out of gas. They hike to the nearest town but find it apparently deserted, with a siren sounding. The cemetery has only wooden crosses to mark graves, and all the houses and gardens look identical. They enter an empty house and shelter there from a sudden snowstorm. There, as in all the other houses, the only decorations are giant crosses on the walls. The next day, they meet Joseph, a boy their age who confirms that the town is controlled by his father, the cult’s leader, and who promises to help them. But his madman father, Elijah, discovers them, natch. Dee, eventually separated from Luke and Mike, must try to find the others and escape, with Elijah constantly threatening murder unless Dee complies with his wishes. Leaver and Currie set the scene effectively if not particularly originally and keep tension high. The cult never really seems credible, though, and Elijah’s villainy is thoroughly over-the-top. Nevertheless, readers who don’t probe hard should find Dee a sympathetic companion for the duration.
Undemanding suspense. (Thriller. 14-18)