A tightly-written horror story, Tanglewood Road is a quick, creepy and addictive read. It reminded me of some of the better Point Horror books, and I liked that Elliot Arthur Cross updated the ‘teen horror’ formula by writing a lead character who’s a gay teenager. Less clear is whether Cross intended our teen lead’s parents to be quite so stupid, or if it was a necessity of the plot. (What parent leaves their recently suicidal son alone by flying away for two days?)
The book’s opening is supremely unsettling and there are some great visuals as our lead, Cody, realises that his neighbourhood is suspiciously quiet. The reason for that is really scary, and I loved the build-up of the first half of the book, where the stakes incrementally raise and you genuinely have no idea what’s going to happen.
It’s a bit of a disappointment that Tanglewood Road’s initial mystery – surrounding a character called Tanglewood – is dropped halfway through in favour of something else. Luckily, it’s replaced with equally interesting characters and situations (not to mention a well-handled romance), but when you’ve got an idea as creepy and involving as Tanglewood you really want to see it played out. Here’s hoping for Tanglewood Road Part II…
– Joshua Winning