The Toll

Cherie Priest. Tor, $16.99 trade paper (336p) ISBN 978-0-7653-7823-1
Priest (The Family Plot) spins a small, swampy urban legend into a riveting, swelteringly atmospheric story that questions just how far the residents of a Southern town will go to forget, or appease, a past they cannot bear to confront. Cameron Spratford has lived with his elderly cousins Claire and Daisy in Staywater, Ga., since his parents abandoned him there as a toddler. Although everyone in Staywater encourages Cam to leave, he is content to remain—until Titus Bell arrives. Titus and his wife, Melanie, are traveling through the Okefenokee Swamp when they arrive at a strange, one-lane bridge. Sometime later, Titus wakes up in the middle of the road, alone. He makes his way to Staywater and, while awaiting news of Melanie, begins to shake the secrets of the town loose. Cameron gradually discovers the truth about the bridge outside Staywater, the role Claire and Daisy played in bringing peace there once, and what they are willing to do to keep Cameron safe. Priest keeps the supernatural elements grounded by developing nuanced characters who feel as though they could walk off the page. Moody and mysterious, this gothic tale touches the heart even as it wraps chilly fingers around the spine. Agent: Jennifer Jackson, Donald Maass Literary. (July)
Reviewed on : 03/07/2019
Release date: 07/09/2019
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
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