cover image In the House in the Dark of the Woods

In the House in the Dark of the Woods

Laird Hunt. Little, Brown, $22 (224p) ISBN 978-0-316-41105-9

Hunt (The Evening Road) packs this eerie tale of wayward women with tinges of witchcraft and nightmarish imagery. A woman known only as Goody drifts into a colonial New England forest after getting lost looking for berries for her domineering husband and young son. Captain Jane, a rugged stranger, finds her and guides her to the secluded house of Eliza, who kindly treats Goody’s exhaustion and wounded feet. Goody flees after waking up in the night and discovering multiple moaning Elizas bent in disturbing poses. Back in the woods, Goody is tricked by the crone Granny Someone into retrieving a lost treasure from a spoiled well. When Captain Jane rescues her, only to take her aboard an airship made of human bones, Goody realizes all three women in the woods are witches. She flies homeward with Captain Jane, who insists on a stop to punish a wicked man from Goody’s past. As she approaches home alone, Goody doubts her decision to leave the woods, and her hesitations push her toward a terrifying choice. The chilling elements build slowly rather than coming as sudden shocks, and Laird’s almost soothing tone makes the surprising twists all the more frightening. This dark fairy tale will make even seasoned horror fans shudder. [em]Agent: Anna Stein, ICM Partners. (Oct.) [/em]