cover image Girl Among Crows

Girl Among Crows

Brendon Vayo. CamCat, $28.99 (416p) ISBN 978-0-7443-0655-2

Vayo’s gripping debut injects invigorating doses of surprise and suspense into a familiar horror tale about a small town in thrall to macabre forces. As an adolescent in New Minton, Mass., Daphne Gauge, the middle sibling of the local Unitarian minister’s five-child brood, was taunted by schoolmates who claimed to have special powers derived from elemental forces accessed through their fealty to the Brotherhood of the Raven, a cult that may be responsible for the town’s history of child kidnappings and disappearances, including that of Daphne’s own brother. Thirty-three years later, Daphne gets caught up in a new cycle of occult machinations perpetrated by those same schoolmates, now grown up, that threaten not only friends and their children but members of her own family. Vayo alternates chapters set in 1988 and 2021, and uses the time gap between their events to weave an intriguingly tangled skein of misread clues, inaccurate remembrances, deceptions, and betrayals. The result is an entertaining thriller that will keep even seasoned horror fans guessing. (Nov.)