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Summary

When people go missing in the sleepy town of Smith’s Hollow, the only clue to their fate comes when a teenager starts having terrifying visions, in a chilling horror novel from national best-selling author Christina Henry.

When the bodies of two girls are found torn apart in the town of Smiths Hollow, Lauren is surprised, but she also expects that the police won't find the killer. After all, the year before, her father's body was found with his heart missing, and since then everyone has moved on. Even her best friend, Miranda, has become more interested in boys than in spending time at the old ghost tree, the way they used to when they were kids. 

So when Lauren has a vision of a monster dragging the remains of the girls through the woods, she knows she can't just do nothing. Not like the rest of her town. But as she draws closer to answers, she realizes that the foundation of her seemingly normal town might be rotten at the center. And that if nobody else stands for the missing, she will.

©2020 Christina Henry (P)2020 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"In the mid-1980s, a terrible curse mixes with the dark hearts of prejudice and misogyny to feed on small suburb of Chicago. This is no nostalgia trip. A true page-turner, The Ghost Tree is sharp, nasty, and unflinching in presenting its supernatural and everyday horrors." (Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World)

“Christina Henry’s riff on classic small-town horror is full of dread and dark magic, with themes that resonate heavily in 21st century America. Henry’s storytelling is her own sort of witchcraft.” (Christopher Golden, New York Times best-selling author of Ararat and Red Hands)

"Henry writes with a keen eye for detail, drawing readers into the disturbing world with pitch-perfect ’80s nostalgia and plenty of eerie atmospherics." (Publishers Weekly

“Henry is able to keep all the strands of her spider’s web woven together in a neat and concise way...The end result is a complex, interesting story with that maintains suspense and intrigue page after page after page.”  (Sadie Hartmann, Cemetery Dance

What listeners say about The Ghost Tree

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this was pretty fan great!

Firstly, I am a sucker for supernatural stories, so this was everything. I cannot recommend this enough of you're looking for some great classic horror

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  • John
  • 18-10-20

Oof.

This author has a bad habit of giving huge exposition dumps through internal monologue of the POV character. It's sometimes so frequent and lengthy that it's laughable. There are frequent POV switches, and it often feels that they only exist so we can get an info download from that character's brain.

The premise and setting are interesting, but they're populated with flat characters. These one-dimensional characters are crammed into a coming-of-age narrative that really needs complex, nuanced characters to work. When you write a parent whose only notable feature seems to be an abusive personality, then have a reconciliation narrative with their child, the unintentional implications are... uncomfortable, at least.

The identity of one character is kept secret through most of the book, even though they appear in several scenes. This is completely unnecessary, because the character's identity can be easily figured out with a few seconds of process of elimination. The only effect this secret has is to make certain scenes with that character awkward, especially since the inner-monologue technique the author writes with is completely incompatible with a secret character. Why would the POV character just start omitting identifying details from their inner monologue just to maintain dramatic irony?

The author really needs to trust her audience to understand certain things through implication or even just deduction, rather than spelling everything out through exposition dumps.

The reader's performance is fine.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Imogen
  • 17-09-20

As always Christina Henry is amazing.

Creating a world and a story that sucks you in and never lets go, Christina Henry always writes books that are magical; dark, dangerous and so addicting.

5 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-20

A Slog

I really loved Christina's Alice series, but this was a hard read. I'm hispanic, but the constant complaints feel less like an author showing us the narrative through the eyes of the Hispanic experience and more like incessant whining. show dont tell could have gone a long way.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Jonathan & Hannah
  • 01-12-20

Extremly Predictable

I feel like this story held my hand throughout the entire narrative. It tended to over-explain things that had already been made clear, and the characters repeated themselves often. The plot itself was very predictable, with the main mystery of the murders being revealed barely a quarter of the way through the book, and events unfolding thereafter in a way that does not reveal any surprising twists or turns along the way. I think the premise is not bad, but I was disappointed in the lackluster way it was presented.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-10-20

Scary Good

I loved this audiobook. I think the narrator has an amazing voice and could easily transition between characters. I personally enjoy her voice for David, the 4 year old.
This story has just the right mix of scary, paranormal, real life heartache and love to balance the gore and terrifying elements.
I want more stories like this!

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  • Pearl Burrows
  • 20-07-21

Started out fine, but then . . .

I thought I would give this book more stars, but the middle of the story became annoying and it was up and down from there. There was a whole section of the story that didn't need to be there. The narrator was okay, but the male voices became irritating after awhile. The ending was meh. Too "hollywoody."

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  • Liesl
  • 23-06-21

Darkness QL w

I adore all things horror and it’s been a long time since a horror story could make me smile and then delve in deeper to the black. Fun and unique.

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  • PK
  • 05-05-21

Meh

I really wanted to like this book. I really did. But the character development was lacking and it was too teenie bopper for me. The narrative and narration was morose at best and barely tolearable at worse. Who really cares about the whiles of teenage years. It seemed to take priority over the overall development of the story, plot line and character interaction.

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  • Naomi Iniguez
  • 17-03-21

loved this story so much!

I absolutely loved it.

I love the mix of supernatural, suspense, thriller, and mystery.

The narrator did an outstanding job. Kept my attention through, and I loved the different tones she used for every character.

🎉👍👏