After heiress and current owner Caitlin Chaisson is witness to her husband’s stunning betrayal at her birthday party, she tries to take her own life in the mansion’s cherished gazebo. Instead, the blood she spills awakens dark forces in the ground below. Chaos ensues and by morning her husband has vanished without a trace and his mistress has gone mad.
Nova, daughter to Spring House’s groundskeeper, has always suspected that something malevolent haunts the old place, and in the aftermath of the birthday party she enlists Caitlin’s estranged best friend, Blake, to help her get to the bottom of it. The pair soon realizes that the vengeance enacted by this sinister and otherworldly force comes at a terrible price.
I’ve read two books by Christopher Rice – the first one I really liked, but had never read his other works. This second book most definitely made me a total fan.
First, I have to comment on the cover – before I even saw the author’s name, this cover caught my attention – the dark colors, gazebo in the background, and I had to question what was under the person’s feet. This just set the tone for the book.
This was a story of revenge, guilt, sorrow, bigotry, and supernatural power and New Orleans is the perfect setting for a dark tale such as this. The writing flowed easily and kept me riveted throughout this novel. I actually felt like I was the character in some parts – I felt Caitlin’s betrayal over her husband’s infidelity, and Blake’s incredible sorrow and pain after his agonizing experience. That’s talent when a writer can make you empathize to that extent.
Although I really liked Blake and how, despite his tortured past, he tried to move on and create a life for himself, I was ambivalent about Caitlin. She was a complex character and seemed to be different things to different people. Other characters’ opinions of her varied and, at the end, I was still conflicted about her, but she’s a character I won’t soon forget.
This was a creepy, inventive, and well-written horror story without the gore of slasher movies and I would definitely recommend it to horror/thriller fans. The ending left open the possibility of a continuation of this story or leaving it to the reader’s imagination. The Vines is scheduled for publication October 21, 2014.
This review is based on a digital ARC from the publisher through NetGalley.