Tuesday, September 6, 2022

Vicious Creatures - Ashton Noone


TITLE: Vicious Creatures
AUTHOR: Ashton Noone
PUBLISHING DATE: August 2, 2022
PAGES: 312
SOURCE: Library

FROM GOODREADS: Ava Montgomery never wanted to return home. She fled Reachwood 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 Reachwood.

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 Reachwood to keep that secret? As Marjorie becomes obsessed with the infamous murder, and old friendships and feuds reignite, Ava is drawn back into the forest to confront her own role in its violent history—before her daughter becomes its next prey.

MY THOUGHTS:  I was really looking forward to this book and I have to admit,  it was probably 99% because of the cover.  I still love it and think it sets the tone for this Southern Gothic tale pretty good.  And while I did enjoy this book and am looking forward to more from this author, it was kind of a miss in some areas.

First of all, I found all of the characters pretty unlikable. I don't always have to like the characters I am reading about, and sometimes I admit the more despicable the better, but there were numerous times I wanted to smack Ava and Marjorie.  And don't even get me started on Ava's mother.  It's no wonder Ava is seriously lacking some basic living skills and support systems.  Ava is running from her past which is her normal go-to coping mechanism.  And her hometown, where she ends up landing, truly holds lots of secrets which were probably better left alone. I feel the above synopsis gives you more than enough additional information about what happens in the novel so I'll skip the details.

In the end, the mystery did kind of keep me guessing, but wasn't really that shocking.  I felt the conclusion was satisfying but rushed.  I did think Noone did a wonderful job creating a creepy atmosphere and an spooky urban legend surrounding Reachwood and its most prominent families.  However, I was left wanting more supernatural and less spoiled kid drama.

RATING: 3 paws


  1. I think a really good author can make unlikable characters work in a story. Sorry this was just ok for you.

  2. I'm glad I read it but am also glad I grabbed it from the library.

  3. I've been having an extra hard time with unlikable characters lately! I'm not sure if it's just general life stressors that are steering me away, or if I read too many back to back haha I hope your next read is a better fit! :)

    1. I also think some authors are relying on unlikable/unreliable characters too much so they seem to be everywhere right now.