Carol Goodman’s The Night Visitors continues her tradition of Gothic-tinged mysteries that capture the soul of humanity and more often than not, aim straight for the heart of the reader.
Alice flees from her home to find safety for both herself and her son, Oren. With nowhere to go, she turns to aid services designed to find safe havens for at-risk individuals. That decision puts them both in the sphere of social work volunteer, Mattie. Because of an impending blizzard, Mattie breaks the system rules and allows Alice and Oren to spend the night in her secluded house.
Even with the generosity shown by Mattie, Alice is unable to relax, fearing that the past will catch up with her. But Oren senses that Mattie only wants what is best for them and immediately bonds with the lonely woman.
As the storm approaches, so does an even greater danger that puts everyone in the house in harm’s way. To say more on this plot would be too spoiler-laden, so readers will need to discover that on their own.
Typical of Carol Goodman’s oeuvre, this is a novel that contains its fair share of complications. Readers will think they have things figured out, only to discover new revelations that throw all expectations out the window. The ease of Goodman’s writing style makes for a nice juxtaposition with the gravity of situations at the novel’s core. The pages literally fly by, so that while readers will feel the somber nature that underlies all of these lives, there is never the sense of wallowing in misery.
The story is told from alternating perspectives – that of Alice and Mattie – but it is Oren who is likely to linger in reader’s minds the longest. His love of Star Wars and Greek myths make for nice character-building facets, but Carol Goodman also finds unique ways to make these critical plot points as well. The narrative is cleverly designed to keep Oren at a distance from the reader, even though he is present in virtually every major scene.
Supernatural elements are a trope within the Gothic tradition and here Carol Goodman acknowledges this without taking it to the extreme. Readers can make their own decisions on how much stock to place in the more mystical moments, but there is no denying that including them adds to the overall ambiance of this narrative.
The Night Visitors is a wonderful entry point into the works of Carol Goodman. Readers will become addicted to this skilled storyteller’s style and are sure to seek out other novels – both past and future. Carol Goodman is an author who always puts the reader first and never disappoints.
Disclaimer: A print galley of this title was provided to BOLO Books by the author. No review was promised and the above is an unbiased review of the novel.