I wanted a scary book and this gave me everything I could have wanted and more. This is the perfect atmospheric horror which the author perfectly depicts and makes you feel as though you are living through the horror with the characters. Even though I was reading this book in daylight on my commute to work I still felt myself getting goosebumps and I would love to reread this in the dark.
‘The woman didn’t move; she was still, like one of those Halloween witches people put on their porch to scare away kids like her.’
This follows Sheriff Sterling two weeks before Christmas just before shes about to leave her job hopefully quietly. However incidents begin occurring all over town including a truck crashing blocking the towns entrance, a boy going missing from a supermarket and her deputy is missing. When Sterling is called to the city hall she comes across a scene that is so unbelievable that she can not even explain it to the rest of her team. When she finds a woman on the scene she immediately knows something is wrong but she does not know quite how bad things are about to get.
I loved Sterling despite her flaws and her bad decisions she makes her choices based on the experiences and how someone in that moment would react to that situation. She felt very real to me and her relationships with those around her was so flawed but extremely realistic in terms of a workplace.
The witch also plays off the characters weaknesses in the book which was really interesting to read about. It showed how no matter how perfect you seem everyone has a past and the witch likes to depict that in such a horrific way it made me feel so interested yet so uncomfortable with how it played out.
This book is how I love witches to be portrayed rather than the more recent development of the ‘good witch’ and finding a horror book about witches is so hard to find recently. The violence of the witch was not over the top gory but still made you feel creeped out by the situations and the entire thing made you feel hopeless. I really enjoyed that you knew the book was not going to have a resolved ending as the witch made the entire situation feel despairing.
The illustrations throughout this book also made it even more interesting and added an interesting element which helped visualise certain situations throughout the book. I think more books need illustrations especially in the way these used black and white just added to the eeriness of the book.
I ended up rating this book four stars which is a really high rating for me in a horror. It had everything I could want; witches, a creepy atmosphere and illustrations which is always a bonus in books. I really want to get to Delaneys other works around Halloween and see if I like them as much as I liked this one.
Thank you to Netgalley for this review copy!