Review: What Waits in the Woods by Terri Parlato

Posted 06/12/2023 by Charli in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

I received this book for free from NetGalley to facilitate my review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: What Waits in the Woods by Terri ParlatoWhat Waits in the Woods by Terri Parlato
Also by this author: All the Dark Places
Published by Kensington on 12/26/2023
Genres: Mystery, Thrillers
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Amazon US // Barnes & Noble // Bookshop

In an atmospheric, propulsive novel of domestic suspense featuring seasoned Boston detective Rita Myers, a young woman finds her past unraveling when the body of a childhood friend is discovered in the woods behind her house. Perfect for fans of Megan Miranda and Shari Lapena.

When Esmé Foster left the Boston suburbs to become a professional ballerina, the future shimmered with promise. Eleven years later, her career has been derailed by an injury, and Esme knows it’s time to come back to Graybridge to help her brother care for their ailing father. But her return coincides with an unthinkable crime. Kara Cunningham, one of Esme’s high school friends, is found dead in the woods behind the Fosters’ house.

Esmé is shocked and grieving, but also uneasy. In her dreams, she still sees the man who showed up at the scene of the car accident that killed her mother—and told Esmé he was going to kill her too. Family and friends insisted the figure was a product of Esmé’s imagination, that she was concussed after the crash. But she and Kara looked alike, sharing the same petite build, the same hair color. Could Kara’s murder have been a case of mistaken identity?

Detective Rita Myers is familiar with close-knit communities like Graybridge, where, beneath the friendliness, there are whispers and secrets. The town has seen other tragedies too, including the long-ago drowning of a young girl in a pond, deep in the woods. Even within the once-close circle of friends that included Kara and Esmé, Rita discerns a ripple of mistrust.

Day by day, Esmé discovers more about the place she left behind—and the friends and family she thought she knew. Soon, shining a light into the darkness to learn what really happened the night Kara died is the only way she can bring the nightmare to an end . .

If you haven’t seen the review I did for Terri Parlato’s debut novel, All The Dark Places, I highly recommend you check it out – go ahead, I’ll wait… Ok, now that you’re back, I’m going to tell you that this book is just as good. You’ve heard of the sophomore slump? That weird thing where the second book isn’t as good as the first or any subsequent books that come out? Well, this book doesn’t have that.

What this book does have is a dual point of view that doesn’t take much to get used to because it’s very clear as to who is telling the story at any given moment.

The main characters we deal with are Esmé and Rita. Esmé is our main character, the one who just came back from Syracuse after her ballet career ended. She came home only to find her best friend, Kara, had been murdered and was found on Esmé’s family’s property. Then we have Rita, the detective in charge of Kara’s murder case. Add in Esmé’s brother Byron and father Tom, Tom’s friend Irene, neighbors Ray Ridley Jr, Cynthia Ridley, and Alan York, plus Esmé’s friends Laney, Christy, and Jack and we’ve got an interesting cast of characters. To be honest, there weren’t any characters I fully disliked – with the exception of Alan York who was a bit on the creepy side. I wasn’t overly fond of him, but the rest were fine.

I loved the writing and the plot. The twists were awesome – with new information coming in at varying points. But the big twist was one you just wouldn’t see coming – because there wasn’t any reason to. I kept thinking it would be one character who murdered Kara, but then something would be revealed that would make me think another character was the murderer. And who it turns out to be isn’t someone I’d ever even considered.

This was a great second novel from Terri Parlato and I can’t wait to read more of her work. She’s already become a “must buy” author for me. This book gets a solid four stars. I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good mystery/thriller/psychological thriller.

About Terri Parlato

Author Terri Parlato

All the Dark Places author Terri Parlato was born and raised in upstate New York. She currently lives in a small north Georgia town with her husband and their dog, Lucy. She spends her time writing, reading, and visiting craft breweries with her husband.

Inspired by the small towns of New England, All the Dark Places is set in the fictional town of Graybridge, Massachusetts. Terri is a die-hard history nerd and loves exploring Boston and the surrounding areas. She has even located the grave of her six times great-grandfather in a small cemetery in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where generations of her family lived before moving to upstate New York.

Terri holds a BA in English Education from the State University of New York at Albany and an MS in Technical Writing from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. While she has always been a writer, Terri spent most of her professional career as a high school English teacher. She and her husband have three children. Terri is an animal lover, baseball fan and a rock music enthusiast.


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