cover image Boy In The Box

Boy In The Box

Marc E. Fitch. Flame Tree, $24.95 (288p) ISBN 978-1-78758-384-9

Desolate landscapes and guilt-laden consciences pervade this fraught horror novel from Fitch (Dirty Water). Ten years ago, Jonathan Hollis traveled with three friends to the Adirondack Mountains for a bachelor party weekend of drinking and hunting. The inebriated men mistook a young boy wandering the wilderness for a deer and killed him. Realizing their mistake, they locked the body in a storage trunk and buried him in the woods, but the weight of their shame caused deep rifts and led to the suicide of the man who pulled the trigger. Now developers are razing the burial spot and the threat of exposure sends Jonathan and his surviving friends, Michael and Conner, back to the woods to move the body before their secret can be unearthed. Returning to the bleak, remote terrain brings to light the truth of the boy’s identity and his nightmarish reason for being in the woods in the first place. Though the characters suffer from a lack of nuance, the deeply unnerving imagery (“The skin seemed to fall away from the bone like a carcass left in water”) will keep horror lovers hooked. Fitch spins isolation and paranoia into a successfully frightening yarn. (Apr.)