Cooper, an Army veteran struggling with PTSD and the narrator of this grim and evocative novel of suspense from Grant (Fallen Mountains), is raising his eight-year-old daughter, Finch, in a remote cabin in the Appalachian Mountains. Their only contact with the outside world is an annual visit from Jake, a fellow veteran who brings them provisions for the winter. When Jake fails to appear on the appointed day one December, Cooper is forced to venture into the outside world and confront the violence that has driven him into the wilderness. When his tenuous sanctuary is further threatened by Finch’s growing fascination with a hiker who stumbles across them, tragedy ensues. Meanwhile, Cooper reflects on the brief happiness he enjoyed with his girlfriend Cindy, Finch’s mother, before Cindy died in a car accident shortly after Finch was born. It eventually emerges that Cooper kidnapped Finch from Cindy’s parents, who disapproved of him, and has been hiding from them since. Grant does a fine job of making Cooper sympathetic, despite his obvious faults. The beauty of the book’s prose as well as its deeply felt message of redemption and hope will please many. Grant is a writer to watch. Agent: Amy Cloughley, Kimberley Cameron & Assoc. (Oct.)
Grant's (Fallen Mountains) new suspense novel is a skillful, meditative character study of a flawed yet sympathetic person experiencing PTSD, with themes of redemption, sacrifice, and parental love. Cooper and his eight-year-old daughter Finch live off the grid in a secluded cabin in the Appalachian woods. They are self-sufficient save for a yearly supply drop-off from Jake, a friend of Cooper's from the Army. Jake and Scotland, a nosy neighbor, are the only two people who know where Cooper and Finch live, and only Jake knows their true identities. When Jake doesn't show up for his annual supplies drop, a chain of events threatens to upend Cooper and Finch's life as winter approaches. A carefully planned trip to a store piques Finch's curiosity, and when two strangers unexpectedly enter their lives, Finch is desperate to make a connection to the outside world. Meanwhile, Scotland's visits become more frequent and he insinuates that he knows the truth about Cooper. As Cooper contemplates how to navigate the growing threats to his anonymity, he reflects on the decisions that led to this life of secrecy. VERDICT Grant's evocative prose, nuanced characters, and undercurrent of quiet tension will appeal to a variety of readers.
In a desperate move to keep his child, a father goes off the grid.
Finch and her father, Cooper, (not their real names) have spent eight years—Finch’s entire childhood so far—occupying a remote cabin on a large swatch of forested land in an unidentified, presumably northern state. Grant’s second novel sets out to explore how they got there and how they might get out. This chronicle of life in a rustic dwelling with no indoor plumbing and no electricity is an engrossing lesson in survivalism. Cooper and Finch’s whereabouts are known to only two people: their reclusive neighbor, known as Scotland, and the cabin’s owner, Jake, Cooper’s buddy from a tour of duty in Afghanistan. (Jake was severely wounded by an IED but survived thanks to Cooper.) Once a year, Jake brings supplies, and when the novel opens, father and daughter await his imminent visit. They are fugitives from a system that would have taken Finch, then an infant, away from Cooper after Cindy, his wife-to-be and Finch's mother, died in a car crash. Cindy’s parents always considered Cooper beneath her. Effectively orphaned, Cooper was raised by a loving but eccentric aunt, and the Army was his sole hope of bettering himself. Finch's thoroughly unsympathetic maternal grandparents enlisted social services to remove her from Cooper's care. How Cooper managed to extract Finch is the major delayed reveal, while Jake’s failure to appear with his delivery is the plot’s inciting nonincident. A trip to a faraway Walmart is a huge risk but necessary—winter is coming. Scotland has had an unnerving habit of stealthily stopping by. Finch has bonded with Scotland (also a veteran, of Vietnam), but his motives seem suspect. With the arrival, separately, of two strangers, the challenge of disappearing in today’s world becomes starkly apparent, as does the flimsiness of the novel’s premise.
Soulful, meditative, and sad—but marred by an improbable final twist.
People Magazine's "Best New Books" November 2021
One of the "Biggest Mysteries and Thrillers for 2021"—Goodreads
One of the "Best New Books to Read" New York Post
One of the "Best New Books of October 2021"PopSugar.com
One of the "20 Fall and Winter Releases to Have on Your Radar"Bookish.com
One of the "October Mysteries & Thrillers to Know"Bookriot.com
One of the “26 Best New Books for This Fall”—Country Living
One of the "Outstanding Thriller Book Releases 2021"TheNerdDaily.com
One of the "Latest Mysteries, Debuts, Holiday Tales and Reimaginings from Down South" —Deep South Magazine
"A secretive Army vet and his precocious daughter have lived eight years in the Appalachian wilderness—until a mysterious stranger intrudes." People Magazine
“Your next must read.” –Country Living
“If you want suspense, atmospheric, a remote setting, and a character-driven narrative with an ending you’ll be thinking about long after finishing, this is absolutely your next read.” –Book Riot
“[A] multilayered work of suspense...Grant anchors the novel with penetrating creativity and striking originality, augmented by enduringly memorable characters and precise, occasionally lyrical prose. At once heartbreaking and harrowing, redemptive and riveting.” –Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star
"Grant's lyrical writing and a deep understanding of her characters propel These Silent Woods…[an] emotional story that gains heart-pounding suspense when the outside world intrudes.” –Shelf Awareness
"[An] evocative novel of suspense...Grant is a writer to watch." Publishers Weekly
"Grant’s evocative prose, nuanced characters, and undercurrent of quiet tension will appeal to a variety of readers.” –Library Journal
“An engrossing lesson in survivalism...soulful [and] meditative.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Gorgeously written, taut and compelling.” –John Hart, bestselling author of The Hush
“An exceptional novel, filled with vivid prose and surprising revelations of character.” –Ron Rash, bestselling author of Serena
“A beautifully rendered tale of guilt and grace.” –Laura McHugh, bestselling author of The Weight of Blood
“Grant’s atmospheric novel masterfully ratchets the quietest of tense moments into powerful suspense.” –Jess Montgomery, author of The Hollows
“An emotionally potent novel whose tragic characters and moral quandaries linger long after the stunning final pages.” –Ian Pisarcik, author of Before Familiar Woods
“Elegiac yet hopeful, raw but beautiful, and simmering with suspense, These Silent Woods is observant to the core.” –Emily Carpenter, author of Burying the Honeysuckle Girls