I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Those Who Came Before by J.H. Moncrieff
Published by Flame Tree Press on October 10, 2019
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People are dying at Strong Lake, and the worst is yet to come.
An idyllic weekend camping trip is cut short when Reese Wallace’s friends are brutally murdered. As the group’s only survivor, Reese is the prime suspect, and his story doesn’t make much sense. A disembodied voice warning him to leave the campground the night before? A strange, blackened tree that gave him an electric shock when he cut it down for firewood?
Detective Greyeyes isn’t having any of it―until she hears the voice herself and finds an arrowhead at the crime scene―an arrowhead she can’t get rid of. Troubling visions of a doomed Native American tribe who once called the campground home, and rumors of cursed land and a mythical beast plague the strangest murder case she’s ever been a part of.
Here is what I thought
This was my first time reading something by this author but I will be looking into reading more!
It starts out with the slaughter of three people at a campground. Only one survivor, Reese, who of course is going to be the center of attention because how did he survive. Reese’s girlfriend was one of the ones killed and so of course he is the prime suspect. Detective Greyeyes doesn’t really think that he had anything to do with it but she can’t be sure.
It really makes no sense, but one of the old guys who ends up in the drunk tank all the time who is called Crazyhorse tells the detective what he thinks is going on there and that she needs to talk to Chief Kinew about it. She is not sure she believes a lot of what the old guys tells her but when she was out at the campgrounds she could feel that something was off.
The Chief wants nothing to do with it because it’s tainted land, he wouldn’t even talk to her in his office for fear of bringing the negative thing to it. He finally tells her what he thinks is going on but of course she doesn’t believe it, it’s just to outlandish. Some sort of supernatural element killing people. He tells her all the things that they have kept record of that this isn’t the first time the land has killed.
Then some strange things starts to happen the the detective as well as Reese and more people loosely connected the campground are being slaughtered and the detective has to figure things out fast even if she doesn’t want to believe in the folklore of her ancestors.
So I danced around what exactly it is out in the campgrounds as I don’t want to spoil it but it is based on Native American folklore and I found it enjoyable as I haven’t read a lot of books with this in it. I have heard of it and seen movies, etc just not really read anything so it was kind of cool. The book was a bit gore at times so know that going into it.
I can’t say that I was a huge fan of Reese, but I did really like detective Maria Greyeyes. I also really liked Crazyhorse he was pretty funny at times. The ending left me scratching my head a bit and I am not a huge fan of open endings unless I know there will be another one. The ending reminded me of the way they do a lot of horror movies and leaves you wondering if it’s really over or not. Just was never a fan of that.
Overall, I really enjoyed this one and if you love horror with supernatural elements then I really think you will enjoy this one!
J.H. Moncrieff’s City of Ghosts won the 2018 Kindle Book Review Award for best Horror/Suspense.
Reviewers have described her work as early Gillian Flynn with a little Ray Bradbury and Stephen King thrown in for good measure.
She won Harlequin’s search for “the next Gillian Flynn” in 2016. Her first published novella, The Bear Who Wouldn’t Leave, was featured in Samhain’s Childhood Fears collection and stayed on its horror bestsellers list for over a year.
When not writing, she loves exploring the world’s most haunted places, advocating for animal rights, and summoning her inner ninja in muay thai class.