Saturday, January 25, 2014

Title: The Killing Woods
Author: Lucy Christopher
Narrator(s):  Fiona Hardingham & Shaun Grindell
Series: stand-alone
Length:  9 hrs 25 mins
Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication Date: January 7, 2014
Source: received from publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.

I had some seriously high expectations for my second Lucy Christopher novel after the gut-punch that was Stolen.  From other reader reactions, though, I knew to lower expectations a bit, that this would not hit me right in the feels like her previous novel.  And while that may be true, I still really enjoyed this novel, and I attribute that to the fact that I embarked upon this story with reasonable expectations...and also because I went the audiobook route.

Fiona Hardingham is a fabulous narrator.  She also portrayed Puck in the audiobook version of Maggie Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races, which is still probably my favorite audiobook to date.  So, when I saw that she was voicing the character of Emily in The Killing Woods, I knew I had a winner of an audiobook ahead of me.  I don't think I've ever experienced Shaun Grindell's narration before, but he really brought his A-game as the voice of Damon Hillary.  I got a Jonah Griggs-vibe from him, if that helps.  :)

Both of these characters' lives have, in one way or another, been affected by war.  They live in an army town, and both of their fathers served...would be serving still if one hadn't been honorably discharged and the other hadn't been killed in action.  And maybe under different circumstances, they could have bonded over this shared grief.

But when your father's been charged with murder, no one's likely to give you the benefit of the doubt.  And doubt is everywhere in this story.  Emily starts to doubt her father's innocence.  Damon starts to doubt whether his memories from that night can be trusted.  He even begins to wonder at his own innocence. I even started to doubt whether Damon was a reliable narrator anymore.

If I'm being completely honest, it didn't take me very long into the story to figure out who the real guilty party was.  But it was still terribly intriguing to watch the puzzle pieces fit into place, to watch the characters come a bit unglued as it happened.  Lucy Christopher is a master at capturing the setting of her story, and some of my favorite parts in this novel were of Emily and Damon's time spent traipsing through the dark woods. Christopher managed to make those woods both alluring and beautiful but also creepy and dangerous.

My favorite kinds of psychological thrillers are those told by an unreliable narrator, and so that's probably a big part of why I enjoyed this novel so much.  I can't say for sure that I would have loved the story as much if I hadn't listened to the audio because those narrators did make the story that much more fantastic. But I think that if you've enjoyed Christopher's previous books, there's a good chance that you'll like this one, too.  It doesn't pack the emotion of Stolen but the writing is still just as brilliant.

GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Lucy Christopher was born in Wales but grew up in Australia. She obtained an Undergraduate degree at Melbourne University. She moved to the UK to earn a distinction in a Creative Writing MA from Bath Spa University. The novel she wrote for this class, The Long Flight, was picked up by a publisher under a new name of FLYAWAY.

Lucy’s debut novel, Stolen, was written as part for her PhD degree. Stolen explores her thoughts on the Australian desert through the story about a teenage girl who is kidnapped and taken there.

Lucy is working on another teen novel. When she is not writing, Lucy spends her time daydreaming, emailing friends and horseback riding a mare named Topaz as well as helping to run a kid’s wildlife group at Newport Wetlands.

Find Lucy:

Website | BlogTwitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. I'm glad you enjoyed this one. I have it checked out from the library right now. I like a good unreliable narrator in thrillers, too. I haven't read Stolen, but I've heard great things. I'm excited to dive into this one. Great review!

  2. Sounds like an audiobook for me to give a go! The performers are often so crucial and I'm glad they really worked for you.

    Fantastic review.

  3. I'm glad you liked it!! I've got it out from the library right now (except not the audio, dang it. That audio sounds terrific!) I thought Stolen was pretty amazing, so I'm looking forward to starting this one. :)

  4. Oh, glad you enjoyed this one. Thinking this might be the one I pick up next time I'm in the mood for a thriller :-)

  5. I'm reading this one right now! I loved Stolen to pieces when I read it a few years ago, but I figured not to go into with super high expectations because it seems so different from Stolen. I'm really enjoying it though. I've already, like you said, started to doubt and question everything. I'm not listening to the audio version, but it sounds like it would've been really enjoyable.

  6. Ok--I haven't read Stolen yet--heard great things--and I've heard so-so things about this book. BUT. I think you may have sold me on the audiobook version because, like you, I LOVED the audio of The Scorpio Races. Steve West's voice was my fave (because, hello--it was SEAN and that accent!) but I did love Hardingham's portrayal as well. So maybe I'll be like you and do the AB route on this one:) Plus it's an Aussie (WIN) and a mystery (another Win.) So there's THAT :)

  7. A very well written story. A look at life from several different viewpoints. An interesting look at PSTD and it's effects on a family, how it is sometimes viewed by outsiders. The author draws you into the story and keeps your attention.

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