In the world of thriller books, “don’t go into the woods” is an adage as old as time. Whether you’re into mystery books that will terrify you or mystery books full of creepy magic, if you love the haunted, the eerie, and the scary, you’ll love these books about the dangers of the woods.
The Woods is a powerful mystery thriller about the complexities of memory. Tess remembers a lot of things from her childhood that she desperately wishes she could forget. But all those bad memories are nothing compared to the one thing she can't remember: the night her sister died in the woods near their childhood home. Tess was the only witness to what was eventually deemed an accident. Years later, having resolved to put the trauma behind her, Tess gets a sudden call from her father. She returns to the woods where her sister's body was found to confront the memories she thought she'd lost forever.
You knew a teenager like Charlie Crabtree. A dark imagination, a sinister smile—always on the outside of the group. Some part of you suspected he might be capable of doing something awful. Twenty-five years ago, Crabtree did just that, committing a murder so shocking that it’s attracted that strange kind of infamy that only exists on the darkest corners of the internet—and inspired more than one copycat.
Going into the woods and coming out without any memories of what happened is also the theme of Imaginary Friend. Seven-year-old Christopher is settling into life in a new town with his single mother. Then one day he vanishes into the woods. Six days later, he returns, seemingly unharmed. But now he can hear a voice no one else can, and he's obsessed with completing a mission only he understands, convinced that if he doesn't succeed, everyone in town will be in grave danger. This is a literary page-turner that will keep you guessing till the very end.
Sometimes the woods hide dark and dangerous secrets. In The Children of Red Peak, three childhood friends confront the traumas of their past. As children, they witnessed the terrifying last days of a religious cult on the remote mountain of Red Peak. Years later, after a fellow survivor dies by suicide, the three friends finally reunite. As they share their stories and long-buried memories, they're forced to confront the truth, which takes them back to Red Peak, and the dangerous secrets the mountain still holds.
In The Boy From the Woods, a man with a mysterious past teams up with a TV criminal attorney to find a missing teenager. When Naomi, a girl who was constantly bullied at school, disappears, no one seems to care. Except for Wilde, who was found in the woods as a child with no memory of his past. Now, as an adult, he can't ignore a fellow outcast in need. But as he sets out in search of Naomi, he's forced to confront his own past, which contains secrets that could destroy both his life and Naomi's.
The Year of the Witching is a dark feminist fantasy about a young woman who stumbles into a forbidden woods, where she begins to question everything she knows about her world. Immanuelle lives in Bethel, a rigid, patriarchal society where women are expected to submit and obey. But one day Immanuelle happens into the Darkwood that surrounds Bethel, a wood full of the spirits of powerful witches. They tell Immanuelle a different story about the history of her town. Armed with old secrets and new knowledge, Immanuelle sets out to change the future, for her and for Bethel, no matter the cost.
It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.
The truth is often as scary as fiction, as is the case in The Cold Vanish, an account of those who go missing in the wilderness without a trace. Journalist John Billman tells a compelling story about the surprising number of people who vanish while hiking in national parks, and the void their unexplained absences leave behind. The book revolves around the story of a man who disappeared in Olympic National Park, and his father's lifelong search to find him. But Billman weaves many other tales into the narrative, both of those who go missing, and those who search.
What happens if when an urban myth turns out to be chillingly true? That's the question The Bone Keeper sets out to answer. Twenty years ago, four teenagers went into the woods looking for the local legend known as the Bone Keeper; three of them returned. In the present, an injured woman roams the streets of Liverpool, claiming to be fleeing from that same Bone Keeper. Things get even grimmer when a body is uncovered in the woods the woman is fleeing from, the same woods that once claimed a teenager's life. Detective Louise Henderson has her hands full trying to solve the case—and stay alive.
Leonora, known to some as Lee and others as Nora, is a reclusive crime writer, unwilling to leave her “nest” of an apartment unless it is absolutely necessary. When a friend she hasn’t seen or spoken to in years unexpectedly invites Nora (Lee?) to a weekend away in an eerie glass house deep in the English countryside, she reluctantly agrees to make the trip. Forty-eight hours later, she wakes up in a hospital bed injured but alive, with the knowledge that someone is dead. Wondering not “what happened?” but “what have I done?”, Nora (Lee?) tries to piece together the events of the past weekend. Working to uncover secrets, reveal motives, and find answers, Nora (Lee?) must revisit parts of herself that she would much rather leave buried where they belong: in the past.
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