- The Possession
- Michael Rutger.
- 416 pages.
- Fiction / Horror / Thriller.
- My Rating: Hell Yeah Book Review.
THEY CAME LOOKING FOR ANSWERS
A group of explorers arrive in the remote town of Birchlake, Northern California, to investigate the appearance of mysterious stone walls.
WHAT THEY FOUND WERE QUESTIONS
A teenage girl has disappeared without a trace.
FOR NOT EVERYONE IS AS THEY SEEM
Soon it becomes clear that the two events may be connected in the most terrifying way. Because sometimes the walls we build end up closing us in . . .
I won a copy of this book through a competition on Readers First.
The Possession is the second book in The Anomaly Files series by Rutger and I have to admit that I haven’t read the first, The Anomaly! It didn’t hinder my reading experience or my enjoyment of The Possession though. Events from the first book are mentioned but they are merely background noise and referenced only in passing.
Nolan Moore is the host of the YouTube show The Anomaly Files that investigates unexplained and unsolved mysteries.
Kristy Reardon, journalist and Nolan’s ex-wife is in the isolated town of Birchlake, Northern California looking into the disappearance of fourteen-year-old Alaina Hixon. Ten days ago Alaina vanished while walking with two friends in the forest that surrounds the town. One moment she was there, the next, gone.
With the knowledge that Kristy is in Birchlake Nolan (he forgets, on purpose to tell the rest of the crew) pitches an idea for an Anomaly Files show to Ken (the director) about investigating the little-known mystery of the ancient stone walls of the area. Walls that are randomly shaped in height, length and size with no discernible rhyme or reason to there placement or reason for existing. Random walls are a phenomenon that occurs throughout the known world.
The disappearance of Alaina and the stone walls that Nolan wants to investigate are linked. As Kristy, Nolan and The Anomaly Files crew spend more time in Birchlake. As the two storylines converge and as they come together, the truth about both the walls and Alaina’s disappearance like a blurred picture coming into focus starts to become clearer.
When an eerie and otherworldly swirling mist descends, rolls in and closes off Birchlake. The town feels claustrophobic, is shrouded and people (both residents and The Anomaly Files crew members) start acting strangely, random and unexplained noises are heard and shadowy figures, some human, others not are glimpsed through the thick soup of the mist.
I liked the characters in The Possession Kristy, Nolan and the crew of The Anomaly Files, Molly, the assistant producer, Pierre, the cameraman and Ken, the director. Nolan is a decent leading man, likeable and an all-around good guy but out of all of them, Ken was my favourite. He had spent twenty-five years directing commercials and low-budget horror films and now he directs The Anomaly Files. He is English, blunt and gruff with plenty of brusque retorts and quips. There’s a familiarity to the whole group, the banter and the camaraderie that they share. But, Ken and Nolan together are far and away the best and the back and forth between the two is often brilliant.
Birchlake is a fantastic setting, surrounded by secluded dwellings, forests, mountains and a river it is an out-of-the-way and remote town with a small population. Rutger does a fine job of evoking both the environment of the area and of the attitudes and flavour of the small-town community and the townsfolk. Many of whom are cold and unfriendly with a reticence to let them in, to talk to the outsiders, to Kristy and The Anomaly Files crew about Alaina or about the walls and the secrets of the local area.
When you see them, old walls are not something that you really pay attention too, they are just there, they simply are. Walls are barriers, they offer containment and they keep things in. Walls are barriers, they offer protection and they keep things out. Rutger does a good job of making the stone walls in The Possession creepy, mysterious and intriguing.
The writing in The Possession flows well and is of decent quality as is the characterisation (there’s enough depth for you to get a feel for all of those involved in the story) and the pacing. I did feel like the story lulled in the middle section (only slightly) but, it is akin to the calm before the storm. As the darkness falls and as the tension intensifies the last half of the book is chilling, gripping and edge-of-your-seat reading.
There is an unsettling feeling throughout the duration of The Possession, something ominous hidden just out of sight. The Possession is an atmospheric thriller that travels down some dark and stormy roads delving into the supernatural and witchcraft. It has creepiness in abundance and it is highly entertaining.
Purchase The Possession.
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