Thank you, Jen Williams, NetGalley, and Crooked Lane Books for the opportunity to read this book that hits shelves on June 8th, 2021!
A Dark and Secret Place by Jen Williams is an eerie book filled with cults, serial killers, and a mystery! Heather comes home for the first time in quite a few years. She and her mother always have had a difficult relationship and Heather never really understood why. Now she is home, after her mother’s suicide and she has more questions than ever. While going through her mother’s home, she discovers a letter from her mother to a serial killer who has been in prison for years and is called the Red Wolf. However, he has always professed his innocence. She thought these letters could answer some questions about her mother but then a body is discovered and it is similar to the Red Wolf murders. Now the letters could help in the capture of the copycat, but could it put Heather in danger as well?
Trigger Warnings: Suicide, Murder, Abuse, Cults
There is something just so thrilling about a serial killer story forged with the gruesome Grimm fairytales. This book gave some Little Darlings written by Melanie Golding vibes–a book which I loved! There is so much to unpack in this thriller. The book jumps back and forth between two timelines. The present and the past when Heather’s mother met the Red Wolf. The only issue is that it wasn’t a smooth transition, but it really shines a light on why her mother was so closed off from her daughter and it also provides a spectacular twist at the end!
One complaint that I saw was the inclusion of fairytales. That actually made me appreciate the book even more! I studied fairytales in college and the early tales are particularly dark and not sunshine and rainbows like the tales we are familiar with now. I thought it was particularly clever that they are a huge part of the cult.
The book keeps a fantastic pace. The interviews between Heather and the Red Wolf felt like a scene out of Criminal Minds. There are moments where the readers are as unnerved as Heather is! Overall, it was a fantastic read, I rate it 4 out of 5 stars!