Big Woods is my first book by May Cobb and I definitely would look at future books from the author as I did enjoy her writing style. The book is set in 1989 in a small town called Longview and tells the story of Lucy a girl who is abducted. But there is a lot more than meets the eye to this abduction, for the Big Woods has taken children before. Could Lucy be another one of the missing?
The story Big Woods is told from Leah (Lucy’s sister) and Sylvia a lady in her seventies who knows more that she should. I liked Leah enough and could relate to her as I was at similar age in 1989. Much of the pop culture mentioned were things that were of the time and correct (From what I could remember). Especially the music, clothing and even being 14 years old. But Sylvia was my favourite character. I loved the chapters in her voice. How she talked to you in a kind, well mannered way and felt like a friend. I related more to Sylvia than Leah which is strange considered the age gap between us too.
Big Woods is a bit of a slow burner. I felt this way to just over half way through when suddenly a lot more things were given to us and I felt like I wasn’t totally in the dark anymore. I do feel the author could have told us some things earlier on. Maybe even given us some history on Big Woods rather than what had happened there and who the people thought were responsible. I don’t want to give any spoilers, but in the 80’s even the late ones the ‘blame’ in this book was relevant to the time period. There was a lot of this happening in the US I remember from when I was younger, not so much in the UK but it fascinated me as a teen – still does if I’m honest. I do feel May has done her homework and with a book set a few decades ago this has to be the case for it to be believable.
The climax towards the end is good, I loved how we had Sylvia’s chapter before Leah’s it gave it that shock factor which had me excited – I needed to know more. The ending was good, but I felt the police washed over things a little. Or maybe its because we were already told the ending by the other characters? Either way I felt this could have been done different, but what I read was still good. I finished Big Woods feelings satisfied that the ends were all tied up, but also a little deflated as I often get that when I’ve invested myself in a book and it ends. But still, the ending felt right and I’m glad May wrote the book this way.
To conclude Big Woods was read over 2 sittings and I did not want to put it down. I loved the story, the pace and the mystery. This is a good thriller and I can see many enjoying it. If you are looking for a gore factor this isn’t for you. However if you like a good mystery thriller that will draw you in and not let you go till the end, then give Big Woods a try.