No one likes Jack. His wife is gone and his neighbors avoid him. He’s a recluse and a creep, and that’s just the way he wants it; he can ignore what they say behind his back if they leave him to his work and his daily walks. But when ten-year-old Emma goes missing in the nearby woods, the eyes of his neighbors turn toward him, their fear and accusations escalating as the days go by. Jack proclaims his innocence, but what the neighbors–and the reader–find out is the last thing anyone would suspect.
I’ve had this novella on my kindle for ages after having read a really good review. I’m so glad I finally got round to it because it’s a very good read.
The writer is adept at leading the reader on – and that’s a compliment! At the beginning, I felt so sorry for Jack, could sympathise with his wish for solitude, understood his annoyance with his neighbors. But as the story unfolded, I liked him less and less, found myself sympathising more and more with his neighbors and wondered what that says about how communities work. The ending worked really well, and was a great way to finish this story.
The writing itself is skilful, the pace just right for the genre and for the length of the story. I never felt bored or uninterested. The writer held my attention, and I wanted to know the outcome. And that’s all a reader can really ask for. I’ll certainly be reading more of Matthew Iden’s books.