“The Lost Village” by Camilla Sten

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers  the-lost-village
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pub. Date: March 23, 2021

This novel had so much potential to be a horror/thriller that keeps the reading on their toes, but the ending simply ruined the whole story for me. The plot went from scary to silly. The tale goes back and forth in time from the 1950s to 1979.  The location in both timelines is the same. The author takes us to a small Swedish mining village.  In the 50s, an entire village disappeared without a trace, no bodies, no explanations. In the story’s present, a young independent filmmaker, Alice, brings a small crew back to the village to create a documentary on this mystery. The story is personal to her since her grandmother could have been a victim but she moved out of the village before they all vanished. Alice grew up on stories regarding the village and Sten uses them to tease the reader’s curiosity about what happened.  Some thought the village experienced supernatural events, or possibly a mass suicide.  Others thought it had to do with the new pastor who may not have been what he appeared to be. The writing in the past gives you a good feel of the community’s simple and sweet lifestyle then later in the story, how their personalities slowly begin to change. Sten does an excellent job to make you jump with her 1979 descriptions of the houses and the church.  They were left eerily untouched creating a very creepy atmosphere were our imaginations could take us all over the place. However, the ending, which is the actual explanation of the phenomenon, is so unbelievable that it reads campy. Even zombie stories have to feel real to scare you. I think with a better editor and rewrites “Village” may have kept its earlier ability to continue to terrify.  As is, my first Halloween read for this year was very disappointing.

I received this Advance Review Copy (ARC) novel from the publisher at no cost in exchange for an honest review

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