I was sent this book in exchange for an honest review.
Echo Valley by JC Matheson
Opening sentence: “‘Oh my God, I look like shit,’ announced Stacey in her loud northern accent, loud enough to turn a few heads of the other passengers sharing the same train carriage.”
Let’s take a trip to Echo Valley. A mysterious little town where lead character Mathew somehow finds himself. One minute he’s taking a Polaroid on a train of his friend, Stacey, and the next she’s disappeared and he’s at a creepy abandoned train station, acquainting himself with Theo, the teenage mayor of Echo Valley.
I enjoyed how this story plunged you straight into the premise, no build-up, with only enough back-story revealed for all the elements to fit into place. We discover things at the same pace as Mathew and take each twist and revelation as it comes. Just how did Theo get such a high-powered job at such a young age? Where and what is Echo Valley? Where is Stacey?
All these questions are answered and, this being a fantasy / horror tale, there was a healthy dose of creepy settings and mysterious happenings throughout to give just the right level of suspense.
I also liked the underlying story of friendship and love, it could almost be read as a parable for having the right close friends around you and being brave enough to trust your own instincts. Due to this, there was a surprisingly sweet ending, which I wasn’t expecting, but really liked – it gave the book that little bit more depth.
Random final thought: As I write this review, I cannot get this amazing 80s song out of my head, now it feels like the perfect closing-credit music to this read (in my head this book is now set in the 1980s).