This was a fabulous read! The story begins with a prologue about a serial killer who is about to be put to death, but instead of dying, disappears in a flash of light. Curious? Yes, but it’s about to get even curiouser. A second prologue follows about a man out hunting for pheasant who discovers a young boy, face bloodied, one eye ruined. The man recognizes the boy as one who went missing months before, but as he tries to convince the boy to come with him, a pick axe suddenly appears in the child’s hand. What these two unusual incidents have to do with the plotline will be discovered later as the story progresses.
The Book of Accidents revolves around the Graves’ family – Nate (a big city cop), Maddie (a sculptress) and Oliver, their teenage son. Oliver has a special gift – he can recognize and feel the pain of others. This gift, however, is more like a curse living in the city where pain is all around him. Thus, against his better judgement, Nate accepts an offer from his dying father to purchase the family home in Upper Bucks County hoping that living in the country will be better for his son. It isn’t long after they move that things start to get strange. It begins with a colony of ants that mysteriously move in a continuous and unbroken circle. Then Maddie tries sculpting with a chain saw, but, as she works, enters a fugue-like state and, when she wakes up, the owl she was sculpting is gone – vanished into thin air. Did if fly away? Things get even stranger and much of the mystery involves a place nearby called Ramble Rocks. – a place with a dark history.
The character development in this novel is nothing less than awesome. Nate, Maddie, and Oliver are especially well drawn and, as you make your way through the book, they become more like friends than fictional people. You hurt with them as their story develops.
The Book of Accidents unfolds slowly, multiple threads weaving their way through, finally coming together at the startling conclusion. An epic novel of horror, this is my best read so far for 2021. Highly recommended. Five very large, shiny stars.
Thank you to Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC (advanced reader copy) of The Book of Accidents. It was my first Chuck Wendig, but won’t be my last!