Book Review: Disappearance At Devil’s Rock (Paul Tremblay)


Fourteen-year-old Tommy Sanderson has vanished without a trace; he wandered into the woods of Borderland State park, home to the cursed “Devil’s Rock”, and never walked out.   As Tommy’s mother, Elizabeth, frantically searches for answers, she begins being visited by an indistinct figure during the middle of the night and then pages from Tommy’s journal begin to appear on the floor of their home. The entries lead Elizabeth deeper and deeper into Tommy’s life and, soon, she realizes, that the son she thought she knew so well, she may have never known at all. One thing is for certain, not a single person is prepared for the truth about what happened that night; the night Tommy disappeared at Devil’s Rock….

Well, folks! Paul Tremblay has done it again. I was VERY open in my previous post that I loved Paul Tremblay’s past work, A Head Full of Ghosts,  and my feelings were no different with this novel. Disappearance at Devil’s Rock, the newest novel by Paul Tremblay, was a flawless blend of supernatural horror, psychological suspense and a bit of crime fiction.  It truly had a little bit of everything rolled up into one addicting read that packs a serious punch.I am normally a huge fan of fast-paced,

Now,  normally I am a huge fan of fast-paced, heart-racing thrillers.   Initially, this novel was not this way at all.  At first, it was much slower than I was anticipating. The first chapters were antagonizing to read; painfully slow. As we move through the beginning (which focuses on Tommy’s disappearance and into the initial moments of the police investigation) I found myself continuously wanting to put this book down. I felt drained as I was reading.   However, as soon as mysterious events began to unfold and Tommy’s journal entries begin making their appearance, I found myself reading faster and faster.   I was so glad I continued reading. Trembley does a brilliant job at dropping breadcrumbs, building suspense and then taking the reader on a complete ride.

This one is narrated completely differently from other novels in this genre. We have a perspective from Elizabeth, the grieving mother. Tommy’s sister, Kate, gets a voice as she struggles to help her family and deal with her own grief. We hear from the small town officer leading the case (who knows the family personally). Tommy’s best friends, Josh and Luis, speak to the events that happened that night. And, the best part, we get to hear from Tommy through his diary pages.

Like Tremblay’s last work, the novel went into so many different directions. It focused firmly on the supernatural element and then switched gears into something completely different.   I love this about his writing; you couldn’t understand where his plot was going, even if you tried.    As for the genre,  I’m not really 100% sure where the horror element in this novel kicked in; I didn’t find myself “chilled” or particularly scared throughout any part of the novel. And if I’m being completely honest, I wasn’t completely sold on the ending of this one; I wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted but I know that I felt significantly underwhelmed.

Nonetheless, Tremblay is a master storyteller and this one is worth the read! If you are looking for a pure supernatural horror, this one may be one to skip; however, if you are on the search for a book filled with suspense and gives off eerie elements, then look no further!  This one would be for you!

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