Judith D Collins
By: Chevy Stevens
Publisher: St Martins Press
Publication Date: 08/03/21
My Rating: 5 Stars ++ (ARC)
The acclaimed and beloved author of Still Missing is back with her most breathtaking thriller yet.
For decades, people have been warned about the Cold Creek Highway. Hitchhikers have vanished along it over the years, and women have been known to have their cars break down... and never be seen again. When Hailey McBride decides to run away from an unbearable living situation, she thinks that her outdoor skills will help her disappear into the Cold Creek wilderness, and she counts on people thinking that she was the victim of the killer.
One year later, Beth Chevalier arrives in Cold Creek to attend a memorial for the victims of the highway, but it might as well be one week for the amount of pain that Beth is still dealing with after her sister, Amber, was murdered the previous summer. Beth has quit university, is lying to her parents, and popping pills like Tic Tacs. Maybe this will finally bring her peace.
When she gets a job at a local diner where Amber once worked, she connects with people who knew her sister. Beth wants to find who killed her sister and put her own life back together, but as she gets closer to the truth, she learns that there is more than one person lying in Cold Creek.
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"My favorite Chevy Stevens book since Still Missing...The suspense builds with every page, and the ending is a complete shocker."
―Sarah Pekkanen, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Wife Between Us
"Aptly named, Dark Roads is deep, dark, and unsettling. From the opening page, it’s clear you’re in the hands of a master storyteller...With brilliant characterizations, tight plotting, and a setting bound to give you chills, this is Steven's finest book to date. A tour de force mystery you do not want to miss."
―J.T. Ellison, New York Times bestselling author of Her Dark Lies
“Chevy Stevens is a brilliant and unique talent and Dark Roads is an instant classic. My hat’s off to her.”
― CJ Box, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Long Range
"Chevy Stevens is back and better than ever...Dark Roads is a chilling, pulse-pounding thriller that also tugs at the heartstrings. It's everything you've come to love from a master of the psych thriller genre!" ― Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of The Other Mrs.
An avid fan, the legendary acclaimed author Chevy Stevens is back with her best yet! DARK ROADS is extraordinary—I LOVED this book!
The elegant prose propelled me through this spine-chilling thriller, a gripping, richly layered tale inspired by true events. From the vivid, atmospheric setting, the strong heroines that will haunt you, and the jaw-dropping twists. Psychologically absorbing — hooked from the prologue to the satisfying conclusion.
The book opens with a voice speaking for all the murdered women along the five hundred-mile Cold Creek highway. More than twenty young women left on the side of the road or a ditch. From the thick forest to the muddy rivers, wild animals, to torture— the land is for hiding secrets and bodies.
The billboards warn women not to hitchhike. However, in this small dead-end town of mining, truckers, and logging, some girls must escape due to the monsters and horrors within. There are dark hidden secrets. Some monsters may be closer than you think. Are they outsiders, or are they living among them behind their masks?
Hailey is still mourning her dad, recently killed in an automobile accident. Her mom passed away years earlier from cancer. She and her dad were close, and he taught her much since he was a wilderness tour guide.
Now, she is stuck living with her aunt Lana and her young son, Cash six-years-old. The worst part is Lana’s husband Vaughn, known as the Iceman.
He is a bad cop, controlling, and verbally abusive. He uses his power in the town to manipulate her and other teens. He watches her like a hawk, and all she wants to do is escape. She and her best buddy, Jonny, work on dirt bikes and race. They have dreams. She wants to live in a log cabin with a dog, and Jonny wants to travel racing.
However, Vaughn controls her every move and also makes Jonny and the other kids miserable. There is not a lot to do in this small rural town except hang out at the lake, campgrounds, go fishing, swim at the river, ride dirt bikes, or hang out at the Dairy Queen.
Hailey thinks Vaughn is up to no good and begins spying on him and his locked garage. She finds hidden cameras. More weird things start to surface, and fears for her life. She wants to get a job to get out of the house, but Vaughn runs the town and makes sure she cannot.
Hailey and Jonny plot for her to escape and live in the wilderness until she turns 18 and can live independently. In the meantime, she has met a carefree boho-type nice girl, Amber, at the local Mason’s Diner and they have shared a kiss. Of course, Vaughn had to ruin that too.
Plans made, Hailey is brilliant and knows how to survive in the wilderness in an old miner’s cabin in the woods, with Jonny’s help. They must let the town think the highway killer took her so they will stop looking. A dog finds her, and she calls him Wolf. (LOVED THIS DOG!) He becomes her protector and best friend. He is smart and knows his way around the woods. (Reminds me of Gunter in Charles Martin's Murphy Shepard series)
Please let there be a movie or TV series based on this novel!
However, the killer strikes again, and this time Hailey finds the body. She is grieving and fears for her own life. Then to complicate matters, Amber’s sister Beth (attorney) shows up in town and may inadvertently lead Vaughn straight to her. She starts working at the same diner as where her sister worked and hanging out with Jonny. Soon she is homeless and pitches a tent at the campground. She is looking for Hailey to get answers, but she puts Hailey and herself in harm’s way.
“Wild roses are tough. You can mow them down to the roots or set them on fire, and they’ll still come back. They never stop living.” —DARK ROADS
From alternating POV from Hailey/Beth, the characters jump off the page with lyrical prose, symbolism, and metaphors.
From darkness to light, tense and edgy, with richly imagined characters who will break your heart as they confront the evil monsters. With heart-pounding suspense and jaw-dropping twists, a spellbinding story that will haunt you long after the book ends.
Talking about mind-blowing, I read DARK ROADS directly after reading Karin Slaughter’s FALSE WITNESS. Nerve-wracking suspense and both books featured two sisters, a nasty, pervert violent monster preying on young girls, and they liked their hidden cameras.
Stevens has written a tour de force and is one of my top books of the year. The author is at the top of her game and right up there with Lisa Gardner and Karin Slaughter! Highly recommend.
A special thank you to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.
I particularly enjoyed this one. During my 40s-late 50’s I was an avid hiker and cycler. I loved the solitude and would go solo with a backpack and book covering 150 miles a day through old railroad trails. Due to the time change, I would often be stuck out in the pitch dark in the middle of the woods through thunderstorms and rain in the thick forest or mountains and could not see my hand in front of me, trying desperately to get back to my car maybe four hours away. No other souls within hours. It was scary, and thank God nothing happened, but a year later, a woman my age was found brutally murdered on this same trail (someone needs to write a book about this trail). By then, thankfully, I had relocated to Florida and began riding along the Intracoastal waterway instead of the deep woods or mountains. However, there were many fond memories along the Silver Comet Trail from Georgia to Alabama and hiking in North Georgia and North Carolina mountains.
About the Author
CHEVY STEVENS grew up on a ranch on Vancouver Island and still calls the island home. For most of her adult life she worked in sales, first as a rep for a giftware company and then as a Realtor. While holding an open house one afternoon, she had a terrifying idea that became the inspiration for Still Missing. Chevy eventually sold her house and left real estate so she could finish the book. Still Missing went on to become a New York Times bestseller and win the International Thriller Writers Award for Best First Novel. Chevy’s books have been optioned for movies and are published in more than thirty countries. Website