Saturday, February 15, 2014

Review: The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

Title: The Killing Woods
Author: Lucy Christopher
Publication date: January 7th, 2014
Publisher: Chicken House

From Goodreads:
Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest: From the author of the Printz Honor Book STOLEN, the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.

Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd's dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl's broken body. "Gone," he says, then retreats into silence.

What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent -- isn't he? Before he's convicted, she's got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee's charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her -- the kinds of games that can kill?

I was trapped, held still by his stare. He could have killed me or kissed me then; I would’ve stayed.

The Killing Woods, like it promises, is a book full of thrill, mystery, and secrets in every page. Fleshed out characters and intricately woven storyline, I found myself blown away simply by reading the first chapter.

The story is told from two alternating POVs, Emily and Damon. Emily is the daughter of an ex-army member who is accused of murdering a young girl, while Damon is the boyfriend of the same particular girl. They are the stark opposite; Emily believes that her dad is innocent despite of what everyone tells her while Damon will do anything it takes to prove that his girlfriend, Ashlee, was killed by Emily’s father. However, nobody actually knows what happened that night. Not Emily’s father who is too unstable to tell the truth. Not even Damon who was too drunk and too high to remember anything about the night he last saw Ashlee alive.

In the woods, there is dangerous game played. The woods keep secret. The secrets might not be so pretty when they come out…

Lucy Christopher knows how to write a crooked character, and I give her applause for that. The Killing Woods, while might fall short to me compared to its predecessor Stolen, is still a very entertaining read. As Emily and Damon put the pieces of puzzle and slowly unravel the truth, I felt my heartbeat quickened as well. I warn you not to read this book at night (like I did!) because it would surely make you jumpy at every little sound. The woods in the story feel tangible and the scenes in the book unfolding very smoothly, almost like scenes from a movie.

This book feels more like a mystery-thriller to me and some of the romantic scenes felt out-of-place. Readers who prefer quick pacing in their books may find this book excruciatingly slow. I don’t mind slow pacing in my books, but sometimes I just hoped that things would quicken up a bit. That doesn’t mean I don’t love reading the author’s long passages – she surely knows how to create strange and thrilling atmosphere in her stories.

For those looking for mystery books with a spice of romance, I recommend this book highly. Although I didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought I would (I blame you skyhigh expectation), The Killing Woods is still a book worth to have in your bookshelf. Intriguing and uncommon, The Killing Woods is a perfect book for fans of contemporary with dark elements tucked inside.

It’s because, whatever I do, I’ll always be Jon Shepherd’s daughter: I’ll always look like Dad. I’m branded for life, can’t wash it away. But what else from Dad am I branded with? What other feelings or parts of his personality have I got?

 4 cups of tea!
Beautiful prose and such thrilling atmosphere.


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Hilda! I felt a little disappointed because STOLEN was such a spectacular novel and, in comparison, this one left much to be desired. Still, I think the mystery/thriller aspects were extremely well-done and I enjoyed solving the murder mystery. Fantastic review, dear!(:

    1. I agree, Stolen is such a wonderful read that I understand it must be hard to write something to match it. Thankfully this is still a great read. Thanks, hun! :)

  2. I think my high expectations helped to kill my enjoyment of this book, too! It was good but I just felt it was lacking so much.

    1. I understand the feeling, Mandee! That's why I tried to tone down my expectation, but still we can't help wishing for more, can we? ;)

  3. I've been reading similar reviews to this one. I'm still curious about it though. I have yet to read Stolen, though I own it and hope to read that one soon.

  4. Stolen was a better read for me, but I still really liked this one, and I'm so glad to see you did too! I definitely agree that Lucy Christopher is great at creating a good atmosphere, especially when it comes to the setting. I'm hoping she'll have more books for us in the future. :) Lovely review, Hilda!

  5. Hmm, I haven't read STOLEN but this sounds really great. I love mystery/thrillers, adding it to my TBR =) Curse you high expectations, they really can ruin a good book! Glad you still enjoyed it even though it didn't live up to what you thought. Great review!

  6. I'm glad that you were able to enjoy this book a lot more than I was Hilda, I extremely enjoyed Stolen, so was expecting much of the same going into The Killing Woods, I guess I was just a little disappointed with the slow pacing. Fabulous review Hilda!


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