The Chill

Emily Bestler: Atria. Feb. 2020. 448p. ISBN 9781982104597. $27.
The Chilewaukee Reservoir upriver from New York City, aka “The Chill,” has a dark past. Under its waters lies the drowned town of Galesburg, which residents were forced to evacuate in order to create the reservoir, all in the name of progress. A century later, many of their descendants remain, but so, too, does a patiently waiting evil. Told from multiple points of view, this latest from pseudonymous author Carson provides a wealth of historical details on everything from engineering to legends. The details build as the perspective switches, adding suspense, quickening the pace, and ratcheting up the terror until everyone and everything in the story seems as if it might burst.
VERDICT Based on the true history of a drowned town and inspired by recent articles about the state of New York City’s water tunnels, this novel provides an alluring mix of truth and ghost story which will draw interest and keep readers hooked. Read-alikes include Christopher Golden’s “Ben Walker” series and the novels of Jennifer McMahon, where humans clash against a monster from the past seeking revenge.
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