The Night Will Find Us
“Suspenseful, filled with evocative writing capturing the reader’s empathy for the characters, The Night Will Find Us takes our fear of that which lurks in the dark and transfers it to an eerie and endless stretch of woodland where anything could happen and never be discovered.”
It’s the end of the school year and six friends start out on an overnight camping trip into the Pine Barrens.
They’ve been friends through high school, a little clique who have clung to each other when others rejected them because they are, as expected, a little different.
Each knows the others have problems, though none are aware that for three, those problems are very serious: Nicky has trouble controlling her anger and is in therapy; Nate’s family is so dysfunctional, they act as if the other members don’t exist; and Parker is adjusting to the fact that his father went on a hunting trip and was never seen again. Parker has already beaten up one classmate who suggested his father abandoned him and, unbeknown to the others, he’s now bolstering his insecurity by carrying a gun.
The trip begins calmly enough with the usual camping complaints—problems with putting up a tent, the lack of bathrooms—but soon, things began to go wrong. Nate, always a loudmouth but usually full of jokes, begins making digs at the others, statements intended to hurt. He finally starts in on Parker with vicious verbal abuse and—to everyone’s horror—Parker pulls out his gun.
Nate dares him to shoot.
Thus, the nightmare begins.
Parker disappears into the Barrens, running not only from what he has done, but also from himself, only to find Nate’s ghost following him. It is to the ghost that he reveals the real reason he suggested the camping trip—a last attempt to discover what happened to his father.
He won’t like what he learns.
While Parker and Ghost Nate are sparring with each other, Parker’s cousin Chloe and the others are undergoing even worse horrors that reveal their own weaknesses and fears. They encounter and are overwhelmed by an evil essence that picks at the subconscious, the presence of a killer existing in the Barrens, and the haunting destruction of an entire town several hundred years before.
“Chloe strained her ears, listening. After a moment, she heard it—a sharp susurrus, folded beneath the sounds of the woods, threaded through them, so well-hidden it was barely there at all.
“At first she thought it was an echo, some lingering remnant of her vision but the longer she listened, the louder it got.
“That was what Chloe could hear, woven into the fabric of this place—hate, pure and true.”
One by one, each succumbs to the wickedness that survived those long-ago deaths. Their parents don’t know where they are, there’s no cell service, and there’s little chance they’ll survive until someone misses them and begins a search.
Even then, no one will know where to look.
If anyone does make it out alive, who will believe the story he’ll tell?
It’s an often-used theme: Drop a group of people into a dire situation, delve into their backgrounds, then play on their fears and see who survives. From And Then There Were None to The Blair Witch Project and beyond, this has been a successfully familiar plot in both literature and film.
The Night Will Find Us gives this subject an extra twist by making the protagonists teens.
How many hidden fears can the young have?
Alternating the story of the original murders in the Barrens with the individual history of each, the author gives the reader reasons each acts the way he does, making us understand and sympathize with the child involved. And then, there’s an extra turn of the screw, as that little quirk the friends usually like, becomes extreme, aimed to hurt and push toward the brink.
As bit by bit their defenses are stripped away and they uncover the horror of the event that happened centuries before, leaving behind its evil detritus, the reader will also experience the six’s despair and fear as well as his own dread that none will survive.
This novel is a perfect example of the conviction that evil lives on, that though an act was committed in the past and its victims long buried, the echoes of that crime can linger, claiming newer victims. Perhaps neither Adam, Nicky, Josh, Nate, Chloe, nor Parker are completely innocent of their own transgressions, but none of them deserves the fates the entity deals them.
As for the survivor—
Perhaps that person most of all is the more affected because that is the one who lives to tell the tale.
Suspenseful, filled with evocative writing capturing the reader’s empathy for the characters, The Night Will Find Us takes our fear of that which lurks in the dark and transfers it to an eerie and endless stretch of woodland where anything could happen and never be discovered.