Perkins is one of my all time favorite and instabuy authors. I will buy and read anything she puts out, including a horror novel after reading her gushy romance novels. Romance she can do, horror… not so much. It broke my heart to be disappointed by this story.
Short recap: There is a serial killer on the loose in the small Nebraska town and he has his sights set on the new girl in town, Makani. Can she and her friends figure out who the killer is in time to stop him before they are next?
Seems pretty awesome, right? A thriller set in small town America… what can go wrong? A lot, sadly, a lot went wrong. First things first… the characters. I had a very hard time connecting with any character. Makani was the protagonist but she’s closed off and guarded. Kind of hard to get to know a character when she’s is that standoffish. She read like an awkward, unvetted character. She didn’t feel fully developed, like a fish out of water. For the first 80% of the book she keeps referencing this “horrible thing” that happened while she was in Hawaii but obviously won’t actually say what happened. I was lead to believe it was something truly gruesome. She kept thinking things like, “I hope nobody found out what happened” and “Could he have found out what I’ve done”?Once she finally disclosed what happened, I sat my book down and laughed. It was not terrible or even remotely terrible. How and why she she carried that around the way she did was beyond me. I just could not fathom how Makani would have related that event in Hawaii to the serial killings that were happening in the small town she was staying in. The rest of the characters were not impressive. Makani had her trusted band of misfits but they didn’t stand out to me. I don’t think I remember anything about them. Oliver was Makani’s love interest and she spent a lot of time being gushy with him. He wasn’t memorable either, other than he had dyed pink hair. Whoopie.
The overall plot of the story felt weak and lacking. The way the killer was stalking his victims and taunting them made zero sense. Even why the victims were chosen was the weakest motive EVER. This just did not feel like a horror story. I felt no sense of urgency or need for the characters to fear for their life. This felt like a cheesy high school slasher flick that you have on for background noise while you’re cleaning house. It isn’t there for you to pay attention to it, it is there as a sort of white noise. I feel this story lacked some sort of depth, or any depth. There were just too many romancy-gushy-sexy time scenes for this to feel like a horror novel. It felt like a contemp story with a slight hint of terror… light on the terror though.
I will continue to read whatever Perkins writes but I really hope that if she writes horror again, it is vetted more. I believe true horror fans will be disappointed by this book, even thriller fans will be disappointed as this was neither. If you are looking for a slasher novel, give this a try but be prepared for Perkins’ trademark romance to be a big part.