The twisted ones by T. Kingfisher
Titan Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781789093285.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Fans of the horror genre will be sure to enjoy this classic tale by T. Kingfisher (pseudonym for Hugo Award winner, Ursula Vernon) which has been recognised with following: Locus Award Nominee for Best Horror Novel 2020, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Horror 2019 and Dragon Award for Best Horror Novel 2020. It tells the story of Melissa, known as Mouse, a young woman who with her dog, arrives at her deceased grandmother's house in rural North Carolina, to clean up. What she finds is a mess - her grandmother was a hoarder and skip after skip is filled with rubbish. But what is most disturbing is the Green Book written by her step-grandfather Cotgrave, describing terrifying twisted ones and stone figures. She initially believes that this is nonsense but after an encounter in the woods and some frightening figures in her yard, she begins to believe that something is after her.
Kingfisher maintains a narrative that keeps the reader gripped to the page until the startling conclusion. Written in the words of Mouse, the young woman, the suspense builds up as terrifying episode after episode are detailed; there are faces in the windows, her beloved dog goes missing and a strange overgrown path leads to a place where there are twisted statues and the holler people seem to cast a strange atmosphere over the area. Segments from her step-grandfather's journal are interspersed in the narration and add another dimension. In the author's note at the end, Kingfisher reveals that "the Green Book is the diary from Arthur Machen's found manuscript story, The white people." Published in 1904, readers may want to follow up by reading it at the Gutenberg site.
Some light touches are added as Mouse becomes friends with Foxy, who lives across the way, but even Foxy can be frightening as well. And Bongo the dog is a bonus, silly and loving.
I enjoyed the thrills and scares of The twisted ones and think that it would be an ideal choice for older readers leading up to Halloween.