The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher
Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd’s dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl’s broken body. “Gone,” he says, then retreats into silence.
What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent — isn’t he? Before he’s convicted, she’s got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee’s charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her — the kinds of games that can kill?
Lucy’s debut novel, Stolen, was written as part for her PhD degree. Stolen explores her thoughts on the Australian desert through the story about a teenage girl who is kidnapped and taken there.
Lucy is working on another teen novel. When she is not writing, Lucy spends her time daydreaming, emailing friends and horseback riding a mare named Topaz as well as helping to run a kid’s wildlife group at Newport Wetlands.
MY THOUGHTS – LOVED IT
Emily’s father has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder after killing a civilian on accident during the war. He has never been quiet the same and retreats to a bunker out in the woods where he draw. One night her returns from the woods carrying a dead girl that Emily recognizes as one of the most popular in her school, Ashlee Parker. The police are called and her father is taken away and soon arrested. She is convinced that he had no hand in her killing even though he suffers from flashbacks that leave him confused and dazed. Not sure, he confesses to the murder, but Emily won’t give up and tries to track down any clue possible.
Ashlee’s boyfriend, Damon, was also in the woods that night with her. He is so drunk and drugged that he doesn’t remember a thing except bits and pieces. Confronting Emily at school, he questions her about her father and in turn, Emily comes right back asking him what he did to Ashlee. With her neighbor and friend, Joe, they try to piece things together but still come up empty. Damon and his friends are also confronting each other about the “game” they were playing the night Ashlee dies.
So when I first read the parts about the game where the boys chase one another through the woods, I thought I had it all figured out and there was some paranormal element to the whole thing. I was wrong. This is not typical of what I read, but I raced through it in a matter of hours and really enjoyed it. I would have never in a million years guessed this ending but the characters and little details of this whodunnit will make you read to the end. Parents: there are is some kissing, some violence, drug and alcohol references with nothing too severe but it should spark some conversations.
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