Review by Booklist Review
This eerie thriller, in which the setting itself may be actively malevolent, can stand next to Shirley Jackson's The Haunting of Hill House and Stephen King's The Shining. Over the past 25 years, a string of visitors has vanished from the trails around a lodge in Cutter's Pass, North Carolina, a mountainous region that includes access to the Appalachian Trail. The disappeared include four fraternity brothers (the first to vanish), a young woman who completed her hike and then went missing once she left the trail, and a journalist who was investigating the disappearances until he himself vanished. The past and present history of Cutter's Pass is narrated by Abby, a woman who has worked at the lodge for the 10 years since her life derailed. The missing journalist's brother turns up, growing increasingly paranoid and unhinged, and Abby forms a very uneasy alliance with him to solve the mystery. Abby is somewhat of a mystery herself: What is the draw she feels to this isolated area and to the people, at the lodge and in town, whom she feels may be in on a terrible secret? Expect shivers and lots of them.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
In this superb thriller from bestseller Miranda (Such a Quiet Place), Cutter's Pass, known as "the most dangerous town in North Carolina" because of a string of missing persons cases over the years, has been a refuge for the past decade for Abby Lovett. Abby loves her position as manager of the upscale Passage Inn, though the mountain resort town's permanent residents still treat her as an outsider. She has never been frightened by the urban legend surrounding the disappearances, the most recent being that of journalist Landon West, who came to Cutter's Pass to write about those who were lost without a trace before vanishing himself. Four months later, Landon's brother, Trey, arrives, determined to get some answers. Trey's questions stir up the town sheriff, the local tavern's owners, and a young man who leads ghost tours, making Abby feel even more like an outsider because she's constantly left out of conversations and others don't take her questions seriously. The tension rises after Abby discovers what may be a key piece of evidence. Evocative descriptions of such activities as hiking and rafting contain an underlying sense of dread, and realistic characters match the tight plotting. Miranda is writing at the top of her game. Agent: Jennifer Joel, ICM. (July)
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
When a man arrives at a North Carolina mountain hotel looking for clues to his journalist brother's recent disappearance, the trail that he and the inn's young manager start to follow leads them back to a sequence of unsolved cases, decades apart, that involve other missing hikers and that may be rooted in the town's deepest secrets. Labeled by the national press as "the most dangerous town in North Carolina," Cutter's Pass is a pretty place in which hikers have over the years had a tendency to vanish. There were the Fraternity Four, as a group of students came to be called, who disappeared in 1997; Alice Kelly in 2012; Farrah Jordan in 2019; and Landon West in 2022. To Abby Lovett, however, Cutter's Pass, and in particular the town's hotel, the Passage Inn, has become her adopted home and her refuge from a troubled past. As manager of the inn, Abby has come to know everybody, to love the wild mountain trails, and to learn that appearances can be deceptive. "Things here were designed to appear more fragile than they were," she notes of the inn's folksy touches, "but reinforced, because they had to be. We lived in the mountains, on the edge of the woods, subject to the whims of weather and the forces of nature." In economical yet elegant descriptions, author Miranda repeatedly conjures up this untamed natural world even as she unspools a labyrinthine plot that has its roots in the distant past but that originates in the present when Trey West appears one stormy night at the Passage Inn. "He believed he could find them all," Abby realizes when she and Trey, drawn to each other and into the quest for Trey's missing brother, find a clue that links the most recent mystery to each of the ones that went before. The novel's characters are deftly sketched and its suspense is nicely tightened, though the plot finally loses itself somewhat in a tangle of strained connections. A richly atmospheric thriller with a plucky heroine. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.