Page Count 312
Publication date June 2022
-Ava Montgomery never wanted to return home. She fled Wildwood fourteen years ago after the discovery of Adam Albright’s body in the forest shattered her young life. But when a violent divorce sends her running back to her parents’ house with her troubled daughter Marjorie in tow, Ava discovers that not much has changed in the small Oregon town where she grew up.
It doesn’t take long for Ava to fall back in with her old crowd, most of whom stayed in town after high school. Each one of her childhood friends found fame and fortune after they graduated, including Victoria Gallagher—Ava’s high school best friend and ex-lover, now unhappily married to a wealthy husband from one of the founding families of Wildwood.
Meanwhile, Ava’s daughter becomes intrigued by the forest, fascinated by an urban legend about its secret power—and her curious questions bring Ava’s long-repressed memories of the traumatic events surrounding Adam’s death back to the fore. And then, when the body of a missing child is found in those same woods, that dark past begins to repeat itself.
After a knife is left on Ava’s doorstep and a threatening message appears on her front door, she wonders if her friends have something to do with the newest crime. They never told anyone how much they really know about what happened to Adam on the night he died; does one of them want to drive her out of Wildwood to keep that secret? As Marjorie becomes obsessed with the infamous murder, and old friendships and fuds reignite, Ava is drawn back into the forest to confront her own role in its violent history—before her daughter becomes its next prey.
Vicious Creatures centres around many familiar tropes; a woman returning home years after a traumatic event, a small town ruled by a few old-money families and a local legend of evil within the woods.
All things we’ve likely seen and read of before, but still an engrossing tale.
Noone does a fantastic job of pacing the story, setting up mysteries and dropping in secrets consistently to keep the reader on their toes.
The writing is easy to read without being too pared back, no purple prose but still enough description to create a great atmosphere and setting.
Vicious Creatures is told in first from Ava’s perspective across present timeline as a mother and in the past as a teenager. I felt one of the main plot points didn’t fit into the past timeline (fifteen years ago) it’s easy to notice but was only a minor irritation.
Whilst I wasn’t emotionally invested in Ava or daughter Marjorie, I found all the characters believable and the editing was fine tuned, holding my interest from start to finish.
Covering themes of motherhood, domestic abuse, homophobia and classism, Vicious Creatures is a sapphic thriller with a touch of horror well worth reading.