The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes
Two Stars
March 2023
 This selection was on my radar from my list of mystery/thriller genre choices. The title along with it, was appealing and I looked forward to experiencing this house in the pines and how it may be connected to a murder seven years ago. Maya the main character was traumatized when her best friend died a most mysterious death as she sat next to their mutual friend Frank. The autopsy ruled out foul play, but Maya felt Frank was connected in some way. Her mother and loved ones concluded Maya needed counseling and relief from anxiety and lack of sleep. Over the years she uses alcohol and drugs to survive daily life. As an adult things are getting worse. When Maya learns about a similar death back in her hometown, she is compelled to end her nagging doubts once and for all. Hoping to find answers and regain her health and peace of mind. All of this storyline was intriguing, but once she arrives back in her hometown intrigue begins to decline. Confusion about what is really happening makes everything murky. There is a narrow lane left for plausible outcomes. The mysterious Frank is a slam dunk as suspect, because the author gave us nothing to the contrary. It's obvious the two victims died in the same way, and Frank is the common denominator. Once Maya "goes to the cabin" and the psychological ______ is revealed, and since there are no suggested suspects the mystery is solved, and I didn't really care the reason. -Kim Luke
Book Blurb

Armed with only hazy memories, a woman who long ago witnessed her friend's sudden, mysterious death, and has since spent her life trying to forget, sets out to track down answers. What she uncovers, deep in the woods, is hardly to be believed....

Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they'd been spending time with all summer.

Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that has allowed her to cope with what happened years ago, the gaps in her memories, and the lost time that she can't account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires hometown to relive that fateful summer--the influence Frank once had on her and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey.

At her mother's house, she excavates fragments of her past and notices hidden messages in her deceased Guatemalan father's book that didn't stand out to her earlier. To save herself, she must understand a story written before she was born, but time keeps running out, and soon, all roads are leading back to Frank's cabin....

Utterly unique and captivating, The House in the Pines keeps you guessing about whether we can ever fully confront the past and return home.

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