Every year, on her birthday, Laura gets a letter from a stranger. That stranger claims to know the whereabouts of her missing friend Bobby, but there’s a catch: he’ll only tell her what he knows in exchange for something…personal.So begins Laura’s sordid relationship with her new penpal, built on a foundation of quid pro quo. Her quest for closure will push her to bizarre acts of humiliation and harm, yet no matter how hard she tries, she cannot escape her correspondent’s demands. The letters keep coming, and as time passes, they have a profound effect on Laura.From the author of Cruel Works of Nature comes a dark and twisted tale about obsession, guilt, and how far a person will go to put her ghosts to bed.
To put it simply: I was completely blown away with this book. Seriously, it is so good. I couldn’t put it down and the fact that this is so underrated floors me. I’m here to tell you to read this book, it deserves the attention.
The story revolves around a young girl who starts receiving strange letters every year on her birthday from a stranger who claims to know the whereabouts of her missing friend. However, the catch is he will only give her information in exchange for exceedingly personal items belonging to Laura. It’s a very dark and twisted game they’re playing and the story was suspenseful and I could not put it down. The story is told through Laura’s POV and the story does cover multiple years of her life, which I really enjoyed I think it just showed the scope of how much these creepy interactions and needing to find out what happened to her friend has consumed her life. We do jump back and forth a bit between a modern day, adult Laura who is on a mysterious trek through the forest and her past that lead up to what’s currently happening. It all comes together in the end and that ending was perfect.
It’s also absolutely terrifying how much control the letter’s writer gets over Laura and it’s horrifying what things he asks from her. I think it’s so scary because of how realistic the whole thing is. I don’t want to spoil anything but it’s hard to stomach at times, which is the point because this IS a horror novella and Gemma Amor did a fantastic job with it. The writing is addictive and as I already said I binged this book, the pacing is perfect, it was an engaging story the entire time.
I thought Laura’s character was very complex and she developed a lot over the course of this short little story. The author of the letters is also written well which sounds odd since we don’t actually ever know a ton about them but their actions speak loudly and I enjoyed hating them while reading. It’s also a very emotional story, Laura’s character is one that I felt her emotions because they were so strong under the situations and while I pitied her at times overall she was a badass and I loved how her story ended.
What I Loved:
- All of it, I mean it!
- The writing is fantastic
- Engaging, addictive story
- Realistic horror, I was terrified
- Laura as a character: complex and well developed
- Fast pacing
What I Didn’t Love:
- I love when I can say “nothing” in this spot of my reviews!
Overall I can’t recommend this novella enough and because it’s so vastly underrated I can safely say I will be trying my best to convince you all to read this forever! There is a lot of heavy content (and I listed the trigger warnings below) so this might not be for everyone but if you’re a fan of horror and/or you enjoy true crime this is definitely worth checking out. It’s also a very quick, short read!
Trigger Warnings: Abduction, Child Abduction, Pedophilia, Gore, Violence, Death, Murder, Emotional & Mental Abuse, & Assault