Thanks to NetGalley and Minotaur Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: March 23rd, 2021
Synopsis: The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.
Documentary film maker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959 her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left—a woman stoned to death in the town center, and an abandoned newborn—have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startling clear to Alice:
They are not alone.
They’re looking for the truth…
But what if it finds them first?
Come find out.
When I read the comparison of The Lost Village to The Blair Witch Project and Midsommar, I hesitated, because for me, that was setting the bar pretty high. I took a chance though, praying this wasn’t going to be a humongous disappointment, and I’m thrilled to say it wasn’t.
The story is centered around the disappearance in 1959 of 887 residents of a small mining village in Sweden. The chapters alternate between the present day, where Alice, a descendant of one of the families who vanished, and who is attempting to film a documentary about the mystery, and 1959, when Elsa, her great-grandmother sees her beloved village succumb to evil. Whether that evil is supernatural in nature or human caused, is slowly revealed. My one and only issue is with character development. Except for Alice, the others came across a bit featureless. However, I wound up being so fascinated by Alice and Elsa, that this didn’t bother me as much as it usually would. While I suspected in part what the ultimate fate of the villagers was, and who was responsible, there were a couple of twists that managed to surprise me.
The Lost Village is a mesmerizing dark and eerie mystery, that while technically not horror, details the horrifying things people are capable of under the right circumstances. I need to list some trigger warnings that could bother some readers: implied rape, violence against a disabled person, discussion of a suicide attempt, and depression and psychosis. Otherwise, I highly recommend this creepy, atmospheric tale. I believe that while Camilla Sten has written a few previous books, this is the first one to be translated into English. I can definitely say I’m looking forward to reading future works by her.