I have another atmospheric suspenseful book to add to your reading list. These Silent Woods by Kimi Cunningham Grant is filled with tension, with a strong sense of place and characters that will tug at your heartstrings. I really enjoyed this one and it was a departure from some of the typical thriller tropes that I tend to read.
No electricity, no family, no connection to the outside world. Father and daughter, Cooper and Finch, live in a remote cabin in the Appalachians. Cooper has been caring for Finch and raising her in this wilderness for years. Cooper's friend Jake brings them supplies once a year and when he doesn't show up when scheduled, it forces Cooper to go into the nearby town. Finch also finds evidence that there is someone else staying in their woods and this sighting begins a chain of events that forces Cooper to decide if they will continue hiding or confront what he has been running from for years.
For whatever reason, I went into this book thinking it was more of a thriller. To clarify, this is not a thriller. It is more of a domestic suspense with a touch of locked room mystery because most of the plot takes place within Cooper and Finch's remote cabin. You are not going to see some crazy twist with this one, but more of a slow burn suspense that weaves in themes of love, grace and grief. These Silent Woods is atmospheric and the cabin and woods that Cooper and Finch live in is almost a main character in and of itself.
Cooper is a born protector who is guarded and running from his past. What he is running from is unknown to the reader, but slowly unravels throughout the book. Finch is curious, resourceful, but also a sheltered eight-year-old girl who wants to experience life outside of their little world. I loved the elements of parenthood that kept the plotline tense with the sense that a parent will go to the ends of the earth for their child. As a parent myself, it's hard not to connect with that and have empathy for Cooper.
As the story unfolds, the circumstances that led to Cooper and Finch moving to the wilderness comes to light and your feelings for Cooper change. It's hard to determine if he is to be trusted or not, which is an element I thought made this such an enjoyable read. I love when an author keeps you guessing and has you changing your mind on how you feel about a character. Ultimately, These Silent Wood is a great suspenseful take on a story about grace and grief with an ending that gave me all the feels.
Content warnings: PTSD, death of a loved one
“The thing about grace is that you don’t deserve it. You can’t earn it. You can only accept it. Or not.”