Spooky and summer go so well together, don’t you think? If you’re in the mood for a thriller to sink into while lounging on the dock, I can’t think of a better recommendation than Tim Wynne Jones’ latest, The Uninvited. Sure to spook your socks off, the story captivates in true Tim Wynne Jones style.
Mimi is desperate to get away, somewhere quiet and remote, somewhere far away from her mildly-stalkerish NYU professor/boyfriend. So she drives north, to her father’s cottage in Canada. It’s been years since he’s used the place, and when Mimi shows up she is shocked to discover there’s someone already living there. That person is Jay, a young musician who is using the rundown cottage as a space for writing his latest composition. When Jay first sees Mimi, he thinks she is the weirdo who is responsible for leaving strange and freaky things around the place – a dead bird and a snakeskin and other odd tokens. It doesn’t take long for the pair to realize that someone else is watching them both, someone who seems to want to frighten them, or worse.
I’ll read anything Tim Wynne Jones writes. His stuff is literary but never self-consciously so, and he creates characters that I always wish I could keep company with just a little bit longer. This is exactly the case in The Uninvited. Jay and Mimi and Cramer, the third main character, are so well drawn that I believed in them completely. Their motivations are complex and their histories messy. Tim Wynne Jones should know a thing or two about writing suspense. His first book, Odd’s End, was a prize-winning thriller, and he’s done a bunch of much-praised suspenseful novels for young people since then. Everything in this latest book is woven together in ways you don’t see at first, and then slowly, you begin to put the pieces into place.
The Uninvited is more than just a straightforward page-turner. It’s about creativity, family, lies and isolation. Oh, and the setting just rises right out of the pages till you can see the sun dappling the river and hear the wind through the trees. Perfect cottage book – just make sure you’ve got company.
The Uninvited by Tim Wynne Jones is published by Candlewick, 2009.