The only thing Winter will miss is the woods. Her only refuge. At least it was. Until the day she found Lennon left for dead, bleeding in a tree.
But now Lennon is gone too. And he has Winter questioning what she once thought was true. What if nobody left at all? What if they’re all missing?
Winter has grown up in dead, going nowhere Reeves End, Kentucky. Oh, she's not exactly a poster child for the Appalachian Mountains but she knows how to keep her head down and blend in. Winter dreams of a better life and like so many others can't wait to escape as her sister did. Hey, so many leave and don't look back so why shouldn't Winter be one of them? Yes, Winter has a plan and she's worked long and hard but one night alone in the nearby forest changes everything she believes in as she makes a discovery that leads her down a dangerous path!
Whilst not exactly action packed (although lots of things happen), there's a brooding intensity just hanging over this story. Winter finding a badly beaten boy is just the start of a sick and twisted game. It's very easy to like Winter as she's courageous and practical, but it wasn't so easy to warm to the confusing characters around her. With twists, turns and red herrings, Ms Armstrong keeps her readers guessing and if honest, I was eighty percent in before I had a firm idea of just where this was going.
I didn't like the attitude of the authority figures, although there are instances of kindness, but overall I was left feeling that the majority of the supporting characters just muddied the waters. With an ending that felt rushed after all the buildup, but I cannot deny it kept me up late reading it as the mystery and obvious connections just needed to be resolved.
Definitely more suspense than romance with its myriad multilayers and I really enjoyed the sense of dread that permeated as Winter found herself repeatedly in danger. I think what resonates most of all though is how easy it is to fall off the grid, for loved ones to become lost, and those left behind to believe their own propaganda. I'm not sure if there are many who live a 'hillbilly' lifestyle anymore but thought the author did a creditable job of making Reeves End feel believable.
This opinion is of a copy I requested from NetGalley and my thoughts are my honest opinion.