Book Review: Carol Goodman's 'The Night Visitors'
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I am a huge fan of a well-written thriller, and also a fan of well-developed female characters. This book has both, and is set in a creepy mansion in upstate New York to boot. Throw in a couple of dramatic storms, creaking hinges and you have a recipe for a surefire set of chills.

This novel is one of a new subgenre of gothic writing that has come to the fore in recent years. I like to describe it as "Upstate NY Gothic". It features isolated gas station convenience stores with flickering lights, lonely country roads with no other souls in sight, and creepy old family homes that are uninhabited except for the occasional kook or wannabe-cult. Other books in this genre include Samantha Hunt's 2016 novel "Mr Splitfoot".

I will mention that if you liked the themes in Taika Waititi's Hunt for The Wilderpeople, but wished it had a bit more ominous portents and female characters, well, this book might be a good match. The story centers around three people, none of whom are exactly what they seem. There is Alice, fidgety and nervous and a self-professed unreliable narrator. There is Mattie, a social worker with a dark past and another self-professed unreliable narrator. Lastly, there is Owen, who is ten, unnerving and obsessed with Star Wars.

One of the things I loved most about this book is how the reader's perceptions of the characters is continuously being twisted and reevaluated. The chapter alternate between Alice and Mattie's points of view, so we are made to work with each woman's limited but differing information, filtered through the lenses of their traumas. It makes for a compelling, disorienting read.

Although the concept of cabin fever hits a bit close to home in this day and age...

TLDR: Clever, chilling thriller with interesting characters. Brings up a lot of things I've heard during my own limited exposure to social work, but doesn't blame the workers themselves so much as the broken system they are operating in and the money-grubbing men who support it (and the women who keep quiet for the sake of said money).

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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