Hi there everyone! It’s me Sharon, back with another addition of Thriller Thursday. I hope everyone is doing well and getting some great reading done in this spooky season. 🙂 This week I am very excited to share my thoughts on Christina Henry’s amazing new book, Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow and Tracy Buchanan’s great new mystery, Trail of Destruction.
Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow Goodreads
Author: Christina Henry
Publication Date: September 28, 2021
Publisher: Berkley Books
I have always loved the tale of the Headless Horseman, so I was very excited to read Christina Henry’s Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow. And I am very happy to report that this book did not disappoint. This has everything I have grown to love with Christina Henry’s books.
Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow is not a retelling of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but more of a continuance of what happened after. The story takes place 20 years after the Headless Horseman drove Ichabod Crane from town and is centered around Brom Bones’ 14-year-old granddaughter Bendix, or Ben as she is called. Ben’s parents died 10 years ago, and she has been raised by her paternal grandparents, Brom and Katrina. Ben may have been born a girl, but she sees herself as a boy, much to her grandmother’s dismay. Her only friend is a boy named Sander. The story opens as Ben and Sander are playing Sleepy Hollow Boys in the woods and come across a group of men from town who have discovered the mutilated body of a boy with his head and hands missing. Not long after, one of Brom’s sheep is killed and its head and hoofs are missing and then another boy is found murdered with his head and hands missing as well. Is this the work of the Headless Horseman? Or is there something more evil lurking in the woods?
I loved Ben. She had such strong determination to be the person she wanted to be and not who society thought she should be. When Ben discovers that she was not told the real circumstances surrounding her father’s death, she takes it upon herself to uncover the dark secrets that lurk in the woods. Ben is a Van Brunt and Van Brunts are not afraid of anything. I loved how even though Ben tried to be tough and brave, there was a vulnerable side to her as well. Ben also feels a connection to the Horseman, she can hear the Horseman whisper to her and can hear the thump, thump, thump of his horse and to me that just added to the mystery of the story. Why does Ben have a connection with the Horseman?
I also loved the relationship Ben had with Brom and Katrina. Ben adores Brom and wants to be just like him. But it is Ben’s relationship with Katrina that really pulled at my heart strings. They have always had a rocky relationship. Katrina wanted Ben to wear dresses and learn to sew and be the girl she was born to be, but Ben wanted to wear pants and ride and play in the woods and be the boy she feels she should have been born as. Ben was sure Katrina did not love her but when push came to shove and Ben was threatened by some local townsmen, Katrina stepped right in front of Ben to protect her. It was then their relationship took a different turn and Ben saw Katrina through different eyes.
I loved the way Henry presented the story with keeping to the original story and adding her twists to it. I loved the eerie and creepy feeling with the woods and the added threat of what else was lurking around besides the Headless Horseman.
If you are looking for a great book to finish out the spooky season, I definitely recommend Christina Henry’s Horseman: A Tale of Sleepy Hollow. 4 ½ stars
Trail of Destruction Goodreads
Author: Tracy Buchanan
Publication Date: September 21, 2021
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
The gossips of Forest Grove are back with a vengeance in Tracy Buchanan’s great new mystery novel Trail of Destruction.
Ellie Mileham has always been a problem solver. She loves the challenge, so when she took over being the moderator of Forest Grove’s local Facebook group, she figured she would have no problems at all. But no sooner does she take over then a prankster starts trolling the group. Whenever one of the members would complain about something on the group post, the prankster would retaliate. At first the pranks are harmless, but they suddenly turn violent and it becomes clear that this person needs to be stopped before someone is killed.
I love how Buchanan slowly increases the tension of the pranks. At first, someone complained about people not picking up their dog’s poop, so the prankster put a bag of dog poop through their mailbox. Another complaint about people not bringing in their trash cans right away prompted the prankster to pull everyone’s trash cans onto his property. But then when a complaint was made about fireworks, someone dropped firecrackers through their mailbox which caused a fire. And then the woods were set on fire while a couple of teenagers were making a video in the woods. With each incident and then the reaction from the residents of the village, I could feel myself cringing for what would come next.
This book is full of unlikeable characters and it worked so well. Oh, the pettiness of these people! If they were not complaining about something, then they just were not happy. And oh, don’t get me started on how fast they would turn on their neighbors. One minute they would be saying nice things about them, and the next the gossip would start flying. It was just so fun to watch. I am so glad my neighbors are not like that. LOL!
I did like Ellie though. She was going through a lot in her life. She has two teenage children, her husband of 20 years left her 3 months ago for another woman, and her mother had a nervous breakdown a few years ago and is living in an elderly facility at the edge of town. When she finds some threatening letters her mother received years ago, she starts digging into the history of Forest Grove to find out who would do such a thing and Ellie soon learns that there is a link between those letters and what is happening now. I really loved her determination, even when people started turning on her or when the clues pointed to someone she didn’t want to believe could be behind this all, she still pushed harder.
This was not an edge of your seat, tension filled read. It was more of a slow burn mystery that kept me turning the pages because I just had to find out who was behind everything. While Trail of Destruction is Buchanan’s third book that takes place in the village of Forest Grove, it can be read as a standalone. 3 ½ stars