The Killing Woods

The Killing Woods - Lucy Christopher Rating: 4.5/5

The Plot: The story is told in alternating POV. Sixteen year old Emily Shepherd awakes to her PTSD hindered father carrying the lifeless body of one of Emily's schoolmates from the woods. He is arrested and subsequently confesses, believing he killed the girl while stuck in a combat flashback. Conversely, alternating chapters are from Damon Hillary's perspective, the popular 'prefect' boyfriend of the deceased, Ashlee. Reader's quickly learn that Damon, Ashlee and their friends regularly, drink, take drugs, and play an intense game of Chase in the woods. The night of her death is a blank for Damon. All in their town are quick to believe Emily's father is guilty; however, Emily believes he is innocent and wants to prove it. What follows is an intriguing story of proving blame, confusing feelings, and shocking surprises.

The Characters: In general, the characters are well written and adequately descriptive. The alternating POVs leave the reader guessing about who to trust. Emily is immediately likeable and it is easy to connect with her vulnerability and distress over her unraveling family life. Author Lucy Christopher excels with writing unreliable narrators such as Damon. As we learn more about 'The Game', Damon, and his relationship with Ashlee, we question who is really is and yet at the same time he too is likeable. Readers will want to get to the end to find out the truth to this mystery.

Overall, I liked this book quite a bit. The story was unique and compelling. Without adding spoilers, I will say that I was surprised by the ending and the rather dark turn to the events surrounding Ashlee's death. The book kept me guessing and I recommend it to teens who like mystery thrillers and who enjoyed Christopher's novel 'Stolen.'