Already lonely, Thanksgiving is hard on Robin Stone when Mendenhall, her residence hall at Baird College, empties out for the holiday. To her surprise she finds that four other students have also chosen to remain at the hall, and while very different to each other they become bonded by their choice to remain for the long weekend. As they entertain themselves, they become aware of another presence slightly oppressive, persuasive and they play a dangerous game thinking they know who it is. Five at the hall at the start of the holiday. How many will be left when the hall fills once more?
I’d heard good things about Alexandra Sokoloff’s work but I do like to make my own mind up about an author that is new to me. The Harrowing is the first book she released and is a mild horror/suspense.
The first thing that struck me is that she has a very fluid and easy to read style of writing, something that is always a treat to find. The second is she has a knack for getting you right into the story and in tune with the characters right from the start. My third and final impression was, while the story wasn’t overly complicated, it had plenty of twists and turns to keep me turning the pages and enough tension that I wanted to peek at the back to find out if it was all going to come out OK. I managed not to and am glad I didn’t, as I would have missed out on a lot of the build up. The characters were well created, I could empathise with them easily and I cared and worried about what the outcome would be for them.
Considering it was a debut novel, it was an extremely engaging, enjoyable and tense read. I definitely look forwards to reading more by Alexandra Sokoloff.