Published: March 23, 2021
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)
My Rating: 4.0/5.0
A copy of this book was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:
They are not alone.
They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?
Every so often a creepy-sounding book will catch my eye and I’ve just got to read it. I’m a total wuss and I don’t do scary movies or video games, but the lack of actual visuals in a book means it’s way less scary. I like Scandinavian crime/mystery books so I figured I’d go in for a little Scandi-horror and try it out. It was pretty creepy and the characters were interesting for sure!
Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the so-called Lost Village ever since her grandmother told her of it. Her grandmother grew up there and still had her parents and younger sister there when the residents suddenly disappeared. They simply vanished, aside from a woman who was stoned to death in the town square and a squalling baby discovered by the police. The baby’s origins were just as much a mystery as the whereabouts of the town’s residents.
Alice and her group of filmmakers set off to the village, many miles from the nearest town or even gas station. They arrive and begin to explore, though it feels as if they aren’t alone in the ghost town – they hear noises, the walkie-talkies malfunction, and they think they’ve seen someone. Shortly after arriving, Tone (Alice’s friend and photographer) severely injures her ankle and is laid up on pain meds. This is the first in a series of bad decisions and occurrences, all of which help to give this story the sense of creeping dread it possesses.
One of the big things that should be mentioned is that this story has dual timelines. Obviously there’s the current day timeline following Alice and her crew, but there’s also a flashback timeline that follows Alice’s grandmother’s family in the town and shows the events leading up to the disappearance. This gives the reader a fantastic insider perspective as to what life was like in this small mining town prior to it’s infamy. The mine is shutting down, tensions are high, and a new church pastor has come to town… You can see where the comparisons to Midsommar might begin to come into play.
The Lost Village was not entirely unpredictable and some aspects I guessed quite early on. With that being said, it was fun (and still creepy!) to see how everything would unfold in both past and present. The ending of the book was quite tense, but I wasn’t really all that surprised or worried for the characters – not bad, but not mind blowing. I was disappointed that there wasn’t actually that much documentary making going on since Tone got hurt so early on and then they mostly just lurked around the buildings taking pictures. This also wasn’t terrifying, just quite unsettling for most of the book. Overall, I liked it and will more than likely pick up future books from this author if the synopsis sounds good.