Isolation is a terrible thing, it can drive even the strongest of people to do crazy things so just imagine what would happen to a whole village that mysteriously vanishes from the face of earth. That's what happens to the town of Kraven. It's a common theme in horror and fantasy a theme that is not only hard to pull off, but one that is also hard to find a fresh angle to. From King's Under The Dome, to Stephen Law's Chasm, it is a concept that has been done many times before.
Kraven feels like the ultimate American town perfectly manicured lawns, perfectly white picket fences, but like all nice towns there are things that lurk below the surface. From the over bearing founding father like figure to Davey and has partner, emotions and feelings run deep in the town. And when a mysterious figure arrives in town all the portents do not bode well for the town and the townsfolk. And when the towns residents all vanish and find themselves in an almost featureless desert version of there town things really do not go very well.
Where is one of those cross genre novels that just seems to get everything right. It works as mystery, it works as a personal drama, and it works as a horror, thanks to the immense sense of dread and isolation that the book invokes in the reader. There is a real sense of dread to this book, especially with the appearance of the out of towner Rawson Steele. The way in which Reed handles his appearance an initial interactions with townsfolk has a real Bradbury feel, in fact I had the same feeling of impending doom and dread that Something Wicked This Way Comes brought out in me. It's a feeling that Reed keeps going thought the book.
The story is told from multiple viewpoints, with those on the outside trying to figure out what happened, and the disappeared trying to figure out where they are and how to get home. One of the strongest and best written viewpoints is that of Ned. A thirteen year old boy, who actually talks and sounds like a thirteen year old boy.
Kit Reed keeps the reader invested in the story by cleverly having mysteries within mysteries, just as you think you have a handle on what is going on she whips the rug from beneath your feet. The writing is at times very clean and clinical which she uses to great effect to mirror the situations in the book, especially when used to describe the desert location of our disposed.
This is a thoughtful and intelligent novel, one that isn't scared to keep the reader guessing, or one to shy away from an ending that will probably annoy certain readers.