A big thanks to NetGalley and Crooked Lane for an ARC of The Woods are Waiting by Katherine Greene. This was my introduction to the author, and the premise was incredibly intriguing. Read on to find out how this thriller fares.
Cheyenne Ashby has lived under the shadow of her mother’s eccentricities all her life. Constance Ashby is the protector of the small town of Blue Cliff, keeping at bay the evil entity that haunts the surrounding forest. When three children are found dead in the forest, out-of-towner Jasper Clinton is convicted. But Cheyenne, unable to bear the weight of her family traditions, superstitions, and responsibilities, leaves her town and turns her back on her mother and on the two people who matter the most to her – Natalie and Jackson.
Five years later, another child goes missing. The event leaves Constance Ashby a wreck. Cheyenne returns to fulfill her duty and take care of her mother. She faces her past once again and tries to rebuild the broken relationships with those that she still loves. But, as Cheyenne and Natalie realize, there’s only one way to bury that past and resolve the events that have pushed the town into an increasing frenzy of fear and anger – face the evil that lives in the woods.
8 out of 10 stars
9 out of 10 stars
10 out of 10 stars
10 out of 10 stars for its mystery; 7 out of 10 stars for its thrill
10 out of 10 stars
Part of a Series:
A great mix of mystery, creepiness, and the emotional struggles that come with life’s tough decisions, The Woods Are Waiting is an excellent debut by Katherine Greene, making her an author to watch.
What I Liked:
The Woods Are Waiting does justice to a not-uncommon theme – a small town set in its ways and beliefs, plagued by hauntings of an unknown being, and rife with unrest in the aftermath of tragedy. What it gets right is:
- the characterization of the two protagonists and multiple supporting persons, each holding their own, with their own voice, and their own growth,
- the emotional conflicts that accompany the tough decisions you have to make sometimes and their aftermath,
- the vulnerability and strength in relationships of all kinds,
- the setting, especially that of the forest, and its impact on the people and the events they experience,
- a mystery that keeps you guessing right till the end
What I Didn’t Like:
While there was little to specifically dislike in Katherine Greene’s debut thriller, the only thing that would have made it better was a little more creepiness. There was significant focus on the ‘creature within the woods’, but there was just something lacking in the effect the narrative had; it left you curious more than unsettled, which is what I was expecting given the setting and theme.
It also moves steadily, but at a slow(ish) pace, picking up in intensity after the 70% mark. That doesn’t in any way affect the outcome, but I definitely found the ‘face the evil’ aspect to be introduced much later than the blurb had me believe.
Who Should Read It:
You’ll enjoy Katherine Greene’s work if you like thrillers with emotion and mysteries with supernatural elements. It’s perfect for fans of Tim Weaver’s David Raker series (because of their similar settings, especially The Dead Tracks) or Mark Edwards (because of their similar themes, especially The Retreat).
Who Should Avoid:
Trigger Warning: The Woods Are Waiting does involve crimes against children, although it is non-violently handled. However, if that’s a particularly sensitive topic for you, I’d definitely recommend avoiding this one.
You could also skip this if thrillers with supernatural themes aren’t a favorite.
Read It For:
A story that excellently combines a creepy mystery and the complexities of relationships and emotions.
I really enjoyed The Woods Are Waiting and finished it within a couple of days. It’s definitely a book that keeps you turning the pages. If you’re looking to try a new author with immense potential, you can pre-order your copy of Katherine Greene’s debut here. It goes on sale in July 2023.
Share recommendations of your favorite thrillers in the comments below. And, as always, thank you for stopping at The Book Review Station!
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