Nicole Barrell, author
Ellie Frites is twenty-four, single, and going nowhere. She spends her days rotting in a cubicle and her nights drinking herself into an emotional stupor. One day, Ellie has a jarring hallucination: an old classmate stands beaten and bloodied in the woods of their hometown. The visions persist, growing more intricate and detailed, yanking Ellie from her humdrum present and back to the unforgiving halls of sixth grade. As she digs deeper into what happened that day in the woods, she finds there is someone intent on keeping the truth buried. And soon her present-day life—and the lives of her loved ones—are in serious peril.
In April 2009, Ellie Frites, the forlorn 24-year-old narrator of Barrell’s suspenseful thriller, makes one of her rare trips from Boston, where she has an unsatisfying customer service job for a tech company and drinks too much, to her hometown of Marshside on Cape Cod. There she has a vision of her former middle school classmate Maxine Lang covered in blood and standing in the “creepy woods in the center of town” known as the Hollow. Following that vision comes a “boatload of other weird stuff” as Ellie begins to remember more about what happened when she was 11 years old in 1996, shortly after her father’s death from cancer. Back in Boston, with the aid of a therapist and hypnosis, Ellie struggles to separate out what, if anything, from her dreams is based on reality. These dreams, which include images of Ellie herself chasing someone through the Hollow, focus on something bad happening to Maxine. Barrell delays the truth about the events of 1996 effectively. Readers will look forward to seeing more of the plausibly flawed Ellie. (BookLife)
“Barrell’s admirable debut is an engaging journey into a troubled mind…a promising novel.” - Kirkus Reviews