Jeremy has been isolated and adrift since the death of his brother. Most people just see him as the skinny emo kid who wears eyeliner and plays drums. No one gets him. Nobody tries. He thought the indie rock band Stygian would become his anchor, but—lost in their own problems—they’re far from the family he sought.
Still, hoping to get close to Kennedy, the band’s enigmatic guitarist, he follows Stygian to northern Louisiana for a summer retreat. They had planned to spend six weeks focusing on new music but things go awry as soon as they arrive at the long-deserted Caroway mansion. Tempers flare, sexual tension boils over into frustration, and Jeremy turns away from the band to find a friend in his eerily beautiful landlord Hunter Caroway.
Kennedy suspects there’s something off about the creepy mansion and its mysterious owners, but Jeremy thinks he’s finally found somewhere he fits. It isn’t until Kennedy forces the Caroway’s secrets into the light that Jeremy realizes belonging sometimes comes with a price.
Jeremy lost his brother to suicide. Since then he hasn’t been the same. The guys in the band, Stygian, are his lifeline. But they hold a thin thread. Watts, his brother’s friend, is mostly an asshole, totally self absorbed and hateful. He’s screwing around with Quinn, a trusting, open soul who knows he’s being used but can’t help himself. Then there’s Kennedy. Kennedy has entranced Jeremy since they first met.
The band takes a hiatus to Louisiana to work on their next album. Watts decides the atmosphere to be found in a haunted ante-bellum mansion in the swamps is just what they need for “inspiration”. Nothing about the house feels “right”, especially not the brother and sister, Hunter and Laurel who live nearby and who are the house’s owners.
When emotions run high, Jeremy flees into the woods. There he meets with Hunter, a stranger who somehow feels more connected than he should. He wants to run to Kennedy, but Kennedy fights their attraction.
A girl dies, Quinn starts acting strangely and Watts continues to spiral downward. Kennedy and Jeremy connect, but is it going to last? Will Hunter drive them apart? What is the deal with the locked rooms in the house?
This is a dark, dark story. Gritty and dirty. The emotions aren’t sugar coated and there are a lot of deep, dark, angsty moments between all the guys in the band.
At times this felt more like a horror story than a romance, but the emotional connection between Jeremy and Kennedy is real and strong.
I can’t tell you what it is, but there’s a twist having to do with Hunter and Laurel. They aren’t who they seem to be. When the climactic moment hits it’s somewhat shocking in its brutality but countered by the love that gets shown between Kennedy and Jeremy.
We leave on a tenuous HFN and I believe there’s more to this story…
If you are a fan of dark, haunted love stories this will be right up your alley. Angst? New Adult drama? This has it in spades. Emotional musicians and a mystery in the swamp? You betcha!
4 of 5 stars