A Private Haunting

Tom McCulloch. Sandstone (Dufour, dist.), $16 trade paper (280p) ISBN 978-1-910985-15-1
In this taut, terrifying tale of loss from McCulloch (The Stillman), readers are never sure whether one or both of his lead characters is a cold-blooded murderer, a victim of unfathomable tragedy, or perhaps both. Youth counselor Jonas Mortensen, a brawny Norwegian, lives in an old house called End Point in an unnamed English village. Adam Fletcher, an Afghan war vet who has PTSD, claims the home belongs to him. Neither wants to go to the police, insisting the other leave. Each has long-buried secrets to hide. When a local teenage girl goes missing who was last seen at a party thrown by Jonas, both men are affected, and Jonas quickly becomes a person of interest, then a suspect. Jonas bears the brunt of the small town’s ire, fueled in part by Fletcher’s subtle innuendos and maneuvering, as he attempts to save himself. Surprising bursts of humor lighten a narrative that is otherwise suffused with death, sorrow, guilt, and madness. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 08/28/2017
Release date: 01/01/2017
Genre: Fiction
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