Dark Roads by Chevy Stevens
(From the publisher) For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down… and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.
One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.
When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.
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I love Chevy Stevens, and this book was another success for me! It’s always fun finding a local author and reading a book set in British Columbia is an absolute treat. Stevens does a great job creating atmosphere and transporting readers to this rough and gritty town of Cold Creek. While the Cold Creek Highway setting is fictional, I immediately caught the references to the Highway of Tears. This added a lot of authenticity to the story.
The story starts off really strong with a prologue written from the perspective of a murdered girl. This creates an immediate sense of urgency and eerieness woven into the pages. But the plot isn’t necessarily what you’d expect from a book about a serial killer. Much of the story is built upon the tension existing within the complicated small-town history. This creates a lot of character-driven (rather than action-driven) suspense. A good chunk of the book is also focused on surviving the elements, as Hailey disappears into the wilderness.
In terms of characters, the girls were well done. They are resilient but also genuinely flawed. Though to be honest, it was really the character of Vaugh who I won’t be able to shake off any time soon. From the start, he’s introduced as someone who is creepy and manipulative. The relationship dynamics between him and the girls is unsettling, to say the least! Ick! Therefore, in terms of thrillers, it had me hooked right from the start.
Dark Roads was suspenseful and sinister and had a great twist at the end. Chevy Stevens will always be a go-to author for me and if you enjoy psychological thrillers, then I definitely recommend checking this story out!