What Grows in the Dark

MIRA: Harlequin. Mar. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9780778369684. pap. $18.99. HORROR
DEBUT This creepy novel blends small-town horrors with LGBTQIA+ themes. Brigit Weylan long ago left the small town of Ellis Creek, VA, and the woods where she found her sister Emma’s body. Years later, Brigit is working as a fake medium, along with her cameraman Ian, but she’s asked to come back to Ellis Creek when two teens disappear in those same woods. As Brigit rediscovers her hometown and delves into her own past, she also discovers that whatever took Emma all those years ago now wants her. Evans’s story starts off almost as a police procedural with Brigit helping the police, but it gradually grows in supernatural strangeness as Brigit’s grip on reality starts slipping. The book also manages to show how human prejudices can exist alongside shadowy horrors. The real draw, however, is the novel’s sylvan yet sinister setting. In the woods of rural Virginia, what lives in the undergrowth will rise to the surface, much like Brigit’s trauma.
VERDICT A spooky walk in the woods for fans of supernatural mysteries, LGBTQIA+ protagonists, and folk horror such as The Blair Witch.
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