cover image The Twisted Ones

The Twisted Ones

T. Kingfisher. Saga, $24.99 (400p) ISBN 978-1-5344-2957-4

A witty young girl and horrific creatures tangle in this atmospheric folk horror novel from Kingfisher (a pen name for Ursula Vernon). When Melissa (aka Mouse) is asked by her father to clean out her grandmother’s house, she heads to North Carolina with her coonhound, Bongo. What she finds is a hoarder’s nest. After a few days digging through junk, she unearths a rambling journal belonging to her stepgrandfather, Frederick Cotgrave, which tries to retell a fairy tale. Everything in it sounds like the ravings of a man losing his mind until bizarre creatures show up outside Mouse’s window. Her neighbor, Foxy, calls these creatures the holler people. Mouse wants nothing more to do with the house, but before she can leave, Bongo disappears, and she refuses to go home without him. Kingfisher neatly combines modern elements into a combined folktale and horror story that is rich in atmosphere and characterization (“She hadn’t just hoarded; she’d made walls and ramparts out of her possessions like she was expecting a siege”). Mouse is a down-to-earth character with a quick wit that never wavers, even when her circumstances are disturbing. This occult thriller with heart boasts genuine scares. Agent: Helen Breitweiser, Cornerstone Literary. (Oct.)