The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
Published by Chicken House on January 7th, 2014
Shelve It: Goodreads
Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd’s dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl’s broken body. “Gone,” he says, then retreats into silence.
What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent — isn’t he? Before he’s convicted, she’s got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee’s charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her — the kinds of games that can kill?
Intensely atmospheric, The Killing Woods was nothing short of completely spell-binding. With a carefully paced plot, I found myself thoroughly engaged from the first few pages. While I struggled to connect with the characters and I found the ultimate revelation rather disappointing, overall I really enjoyed The Killing Woods as it took me on a suspenseful and thrilling read!
Paced to perfection, The Killing Woods strategically dropped gems of information, which seemed scattered and chaotic while reading, but which came together by the end in a way that I found insanely suspenseful. I particularly liked how Christopher used Damon’s hazy memories to mislead us into believing one thing, while simultaneously building up how the actual events transpired. I loved how the pieces of information that Damon “remembered” were trickled throughout The Killing Woods, and how Christopher used the dual PoV to further muddle any details Damon discovered by having Emily uncover something seemingly opposite or contradicting. And while I found the ultimate explanation to the Game to be significantly less sinister than I had imagined, the intrigue and apparent danger of the Game was still satisfying and served to further the mysteriousness surrounding Ashlee’s murder.
Despite enjoying the dual PoV for what it did for The Killing Wood’s plot and the pacing, I struggled to connect with either Emily or Damon. I found myself increasingly annoyed by their narratives, since so much of both of their PoVs consisted of questions to themselves. It definitely didn’t help that many of the questions Emily asked herself were about Damon, a person she barely knew, and whether it was possible that he was lying to her.
But I have no idea what to believe anymore. Has Damon been keeping secrets this whole time? Deep, dark secrets? Is he not who I’d thought at all?