The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is a modern day fairy tale set in the 80’s. A town is cursed by a monster that lives in the woods is it a serial killer or something more? This book is creepy it is a combo of the original Pied-Piper tale, that lead children away with his tune, and the Legend of Sleepy Hollow in a totally 80’s world. I’ve read a lot of books about the 80’s recently, and I feel this book nailed the grime and dirt of the 80’s; the rampant smoking underage, the cool cars, the mischief of parents letting kids run wild through the neighborhood, and the torn/ripped jeans. The Ghost tree had a great opening scene that carries the book, there’s clever writing about the curse on the town and the towns people. I wanted a little bit more from this novel than I got, I thought the present day body count was too low for this type of story. I would like to thank Berkley Publishing and Netgalley for the advanced copy. The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry is published on 9-8-20.
The Plot: The quiet town of Smiths Hollow has a murder, not an ordinary murder, but bodies of two young girls ripped apart, with only their heads remain. The police investigating the murder go through the motions but seem to soon forget, as well as the woman that discovered the bodies. Not all forget the one’s that remember say it’s not July yet. Alex a police officer who recently moved to the town notices how the town forgets and investigates the crime making a horrific discovery, that a young woman dies every year in July, it is currently June. Alex makes the discovery that a woman didn’t die last year but a man with his heart ripped out. Lauren and David are the children of Joe who died last year of getting his heart ripped out. Lauren and David both have physical reaction when both the girls are murdered like they can feel it, and a trance went over it. Lauren and David are the key to stopping this monster in the woods.
What I Liked: The story is great, Christina Henry is so good at coming up with high concept ideas and this story is no exception. I love the 80’s vibe, this story did it really subtile and not in your face with it like a lot of books. I liked the towns reaction to outsiders and the curse in general. The backstory was cool and really thought out. I did like the power hungry mayor that knows everything but has his own interest at hand. I loved David the best character, with his cool psychic visions and predictions. The supernatural element the book nails. I like the climax a lot, it was action packed.
What I Disliked: the love interest for Lauren, Jake. Jake is in college and has recently turned 18, Lauren is 13 and about to start high school. Jake says lines like I’ve been into you for a long time, which is super creepy. I could not get behind this love interest at all. I was disappointed that only a couple murders happen, when there could have been way more, there’s a pretty good finally that finally has some death but too little too late.
Recommendations: I recommended Alice by Henry with a 3 str rating which I rarely ever do, but it looks like I’m going to do it again. I’m barely going to recommend this one, it’s a great idea, even it I think the execution could have been a lot better. The story had an epic potential but it just didn’t reach that level. If you like stories in the 80’s then you will like this one. If you like stories about small towns with big secrets then this might be the story for you. I rated The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry 3 out of 5 stars. I’m going to keep reading Henry we’re gonna totally connect one day I just know it, I still get excited for her ideals on books she has written like The Girl in Red, apocalyptic Red Riding Hood, I have to check that out!