Something dark is living under the surface of Snakebite, Oregon. Logan, the daughter of two paranormal investigators, has been dragged to her dads’ old hometown to investigate a case. When she gets to Snakebite, she finds an insular community that doesn’t take kindly to her queer family disrupting the norm. And, after her family arrives in town, the body count starts to rise. Working with the girlfriend of a missing teen, Logan begins investigating the strange happenings in Snakebite and must find an answer before the town blames her dads for the missing and murdered teens.
This is a fast-paced paranormal horror novel with a high body count. Logan’s dads, Brandon and Alejo, were both raised in Snakebite and are hiding a past that Logan is desperate to uncover. It doesn’t help that Tristan, Snakebite’s golden boy, went missing as soon as Brandon arrived in town. The town is wary of Brandon and Alejo, both because of their pasts in Snakebite and because they’re queer. Snakebite is the definition of small town, with rigid values and unwelcoming residents and provides the perfect backdrop to this mystery. The setting becomes almost like a character itself and helps to build suspense as more and more teens start disappearing.
Logan, by extension, is also treated warily by the town but is accepted by Ashley, Tristan’s girlfriend. Ashley knows something paranormal is happening in the town as she is able to see ghosts, and she wants Logan to use her dads’ paranormal investigation tools to help find Tristan. The two embark on an investigation, spending more and more time together that leads to the development of a relationship. I liked seeing both Ashley and Logan discover more about themselves and thought their relationship unfolded very naturally.
The story moves at a breakneck pace with a multi-layered mystery at the heart. Not only are we trying to discover who is murdering the teens, but we also are trying to uncover the mystery of Brandon and Alejo’s time at Snakebite and understand what is happening paranormally. Chapters narrated by an entity known as The Dark add a creeping sense of dread. I knew right away who was responsible for the dead and missing children, so that did not build as much suspense for me, but I still had questions about the paranormal aspects that made the story satisfyingly suspenseful.
If you’re looking for a quick, haunting read to help you transition into fall, this is a great choice. It’s creepy and compelling while still having a tender romance. If you’ve read this one, let me know what you thought!
CW: death, murder, possession, homophobia