Doubleday Canada|December 4, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN:978-0-385-67736-3
There’s something deadly lurking in the shadows at Shadow Creek…
Due to a last-minute change in plans, a group of unlikely traveling companions find themselves on a camping trip in the Adirondacks. They include the soon-to-be divorced Valerie; her oddball friends, Melissa and James; her moody teenage daughter, Brianne; and Val’s estranged husband’s fiancee, Jennifer. Val is dealing with unresolved feelings toward her ex and grappling with jealousy and resentment toward his younger, prettier new flame, a woman with some serious issues of her own. Brianne is sixteen and openly rebellious, caught up in a web of secrets and lies.
What Val and her companions don’t know is that a pair of crazed killers is wreaking havoc in the very same woods. When an elderly couple is found slaughtered and Brianne goes missing, Val finds herself in a nightmare much worse than anything she could have anticipated. She was half-expecting it to be the trip from hell, but what she never could have predicted was that this impromptu little excursion would become an all-out struggle for survival.
Shadow Creek is a gripping, sit at the edge of your seat read. I found myself holding the book tighter and tighter in my hands with each passing page.
Val’s sixteen-year-old daughter, Brianne ,is an overly typical rebellious teenager who is caught up in a web of secrets and lies. She was supposed to be spending the weekend in the Adirondacks with her Dad, Evan and his new girlfriend, Jennifer. Val and Evan were only days away from completing their divorce. Jennifer pulled up in front of Val’s house expecting Evan to already be there picking up his daughter, Brianne but he was nowhere to be seen. He phoned and said he was held up at the office. After waiting around for hours, Val decided she would drive her daughter, Jennifer, and Val’s friends up to the Adirondacks herself. Val and her friends were supposed to be spending a nice weekend away themselves in Manhattan but thought they could just drop off the other two and then return to enjoy their own weekend.
After the long drive to their destination everyone was tired and irritable. Val decided they’d eat dinner, stay overnight and return to Manhattan in the morning. Then Evan called again and said he wouldn’t be able to make it at all that day and would be there the following day for sure. Val didn’t want to leave Brianne alone with Evan’s girlfriend, Jennifer so it looked like she and her friends would be staying too. After Brianne disappeared and was dragged back with a 21-year-old man to the lodge by two park rangers who found them naked and having sex in a public area, Val completely freaked out. First of all, she didn’t know Brianne had a boyfriend, yet alone that he was 5 years her senior. Then Val discovers that Jennifer knew about the boyfriend and had neglected to tell her sending Val into an angry deluge of words against the woman. SHE was Brianne’s mother and should have been made aware of the situation and was completely put off by Jennifer’s lack of concern that Brianne had “snuck away” AND had this boyfriend. The lodge manager was not happy with the behaviour of the whole group and told them they’d have to leave the lodge and stay outside in the campground instead. Great, this day was turning out to be a disaster but little did they know that this was only the beginning.
Once in the campground and tents set up, they needed to work out the sleeping arrangements. Since Val’s friend, James was gay, it was decided that Brianne would bunk in his tent so he could keep an eye on Brianne so she didn’t sneak away again to meet her older boyfriend and to fend off any wild animals should she need to use the porta-potties in the middle of the night.
Val ended up running into a man she went to high school with who also camping with his teenaged son, Hayden. Brianne immediately struck up a conversation with him hoping to befriend him so he’d let her use his cell phone to contact her boyfriend since her mother had confiscated her phone so she couldn’t. Sure enough, Hayden did have a cell phone. She made arrangements to meet-up with him at midnight at the park’s gate to be together for a few hours while her mother and the others slept. Hayden, overhearing the conversation was worried about Brianne wandering off through the thick bush at night alone when there were known bears and other wild animals around so he followed her that night. Once meeting up with her boyfriend she discovered Hayden had followed her and he and the boyfriend got into a fight. The boyfriend beat Hayden up and they left him unconscious lying in a ditch.
Later that night the man Val met from high school discovered his son was gone and alerted the others. Val checked James’s tent and discovered Brianne was also gone leaving her sleeping bag stuffed with clothing to make it look as though she was safely tucked inside. Shortly thereafter, Hayden came stumbling back into camp with cuts and bruises on his face and told his Dad and the others what had happened. Of course the man was furious with Val’s daughter and Val was barely able to contain herself from the anger she felt at Brianne over all this trouble she was causing. Hadn’t she already created enough trouble for one weekend?
Val and her friends immediately launch a search for Brianne but due to the heavy brush and the darkness couldn’t make much headway. At first light they made their way to the Ranger’s station to report Brianne missing. They already knew that one man, a newlywed was missing after a fight with his new bride whom the Rangers had been unable to find, and little did they know that two crazed killers were loose killing people in the very park they were in. Val just couldn’t sit still at the campsite and wait for the Rangers to do their work so she and her friends set out to conduct a search of their own. When they stumble upon a man’s severed arm, covered in blood lying on the ground they realize the situation is much, much worse than they had first thought.
Where is Brianne? Did a bear get her? Did the crazed killers get her? Will Val ever see her only child again?
Shadow Creek is a definite page-turner that will keep you up late into the night as you won’t be able to put it down. Joy Fielding has really outdone herself this time and having read all of Joy’s previous novels, I’d have to say this is by far my favourite.