This is the second book I’ve read by the same title this year, both new releases.
On a beautiful summer night in a charming English suburb, a young woman and her boyfriend disappear after partying at the massive country estate of a new college friend.
One year later, a writer moves into a cottage on the edge of the woods that border the same estate. Known locally as the Dark Place, the dense forest is the writer’s favorite area for long walks and it’s on one such walk that she stumbles upon a mysterious note that simply reads, “DIG HERE.”
Could this be a clue towards what has happened to the missing young couple? And what exactly is buried in this haunted ground?
Tallulah Murray is a nineteen-year-old unmarried mom who still lives at home with her divorced mother, Kim. Tallulah juggles being a mom to Noah while attending college in hopes of becoming a social worker. The baby’s father, Zach, moves in with her, and they try to be a family.
Sophie Beck is the author of several detective stories. She and her significant other, Shaun, move from London to Maypole House, a private boarding school for 16-19 old students, when Shaun becomes the new head teacher.
The story begins with Tallulah and Zach go out for a rare night out, leaving Noah in Kim’s care. When they don’t return home, and don’t answer their cell phones, Kim fears something is wrong. Although both are very young, they are devoted to their son and wouldn’t leave him. Zach’s mother is nonchalant about the entire thing, but Kim decides to investigate on her own.
She learns they were last seen attending a pool party at Dark Place, a historical estate owned by the family of Scarlett Jacques who is also enrolled at the same college as Tallulah. Several people saw them there, but everyone said they planned to call a cab to take them home. After twenty-four hours, Kim calls the police to investigate. The trail goes cold.
The story is told in three timelines—the events leading up to Tallulah’s and Zach’s disappearance, the night of the pool party, and Kim’s subsequent investigation, and present-day when Sophie moves into the cottage at Maypole House.
Shortly after Sophie’s arrival, she finds a sign reading, “dig here,” near the edge of the woods behind her cottage. She uncovers a clue that might lead to what happened to Tallulah and Zach.
The book is more of a slow burn than a page-turner, but it kept my interest. And each tidbit or clue the author dropped was wrapped up nicely—with a surprising twist at the end.
A special thanks to Atria Books and Net Galley for an advanced reader copy.