Book Review: Wild Place by Christian White

About the Book:

In the summer of 1989, a local teen goes missing from the idyllic Australian suburb of Camp Hill. As rumours of Satanic rituals swirl, schoolteacher Tom Witter becomes convinced he holds the key to the disappearance. When the police won’t listen, he takes matters into his own hands with the help of the missing girl’s father and a local neighbourhood watch group.

But as dark secrets are revealed and consequences to past actions are faced, Tom learns that the only way out of the darkness is to walk deeper into it. Wild Place peels back the layers of suburbia, exposing what’s hidden underneath – guilt, desperation, violence – and attempts to answer the question: why do good people do bad things?

Published by Affirm Press

Released 26th October 2021

My Thoughts:

This novel just confirms what I have maintained all throughout my life: don’t get involved with your neighbours. Wild Place is the first novel of Christian White’s that I have read although it is his third release. I can see now why everyone loves his books! He writes in a casual manner that makes for deceptively light reading, but beneath the surface is a darkly simmering cesspool of domestic drama that erupts into violence with remarkable ease.

I loved the way Christian demonstrated the rapid way in which people fall in with each other. You put a bunch of nosy people together, threaten their orderly existence, throw in a few comments about the virtue of their children being at risk and viola: the witch hunt is on! The consequences of this were far reaching and I was horrified by the eventual outcome and deeply saddened by how judgemental people can be about someone who has chosen to be different.

Wild Place is a twisting and compulsive read. I’m keen now to read his previous two releases as I enjoyed his style and techniques of misdirection. Although, I have to say, I had an inkling that a particular character wasn’t all that they seemed and was glad to see my suspicions realised – sometimes I can be a little judgemental on characters, so it was good to see that I was on the mark this time and not just hating on someone for the sake of it. I enjoyed revisiting the late 1980s and felt that Christian did a fantastic job on inserting pop culture references into the narrative to give it an authentic sense of the era. This novel cast my mind back to my teenage years in the early 1990s and the hype around Satanism that was prevalent at the time. I remember the fear this generated back then, and I think he really nailed that in terms of recreating the mood and feel of what was going on at that time.

Highly recommended. I challenge you to put it down once you’ve started!

☕☕☕☕

Thanks to the publisher for the review copy.

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