BINGO – Pandemic (because who doesn’t love a little supernatural horror to take your mind of the very real, natural horror of the world).
Mouse and her dog Bongo hit the road for small town in rural North Carolina. Mouse’s grandmother has just passed away, and Mouse has been tasked with clearing out her grandmother’s old house so that it can be sold. When Mouse arrives, she learns that her grandmother was a hoarder: newspaper, plastic storage containers, antique dolls, and more are stuffed full in the house. As Mouse endeavors to clear everything out, she discovers a manuscript written by her late step-grandfather, her grandmother’s husband, Fredrick Cotgrave. In this manuscript, Cotgrave retells of his reading of The Green Book about a group of eerie supernatural beings; all the while, Mouse is terrorized by grotesque animal effigies in the woods around her grandmother’s home and at the house’s front door.
The book is told entirely in first person from Mouse’s point of view. This allows Mouse to weave through the tension of the book with some humor. Kingfisher does an excellent job of capturing how someone in a terrorized state might react, and it isn’t always rational. The first person point of view also undermines a lot of the tension too. We, the readers, know that Mouse and her dog are ultimately going to be okay. We know they survive from the very first chapter. We don’t know the fates of any of the supporting characters, but I also didn’t connect with many of them except for Foxy, a 60-something former-wild-child who lives just across the way and takes to looking after Mouse.
I listened to The Twisted Ones as an audiobook read by Hilary Huber. Overall, Huber does well. She is creepiest and scariest when she switches from her normal narration to the voice she uses when she recites a phrase repeated throughout the book: “And I twisted myself about like the twisted ones, and I lay down on the ground like the dead ones.” Her voice takes on this quality as if she is not in control, as if someone else is speaking through her but trying to pass it off as normal. Things are just different enough to be extremely unsettling.
[Apparently this book was inspired by a short story that I had not read before beginning, but you can read it for free here]