Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy

{June 10, 2011}   {Review} Black Hill Farm, by Tim O’Rourke (Book 1)

From Goodreads:  Detective Chief Inspector John Walker hasn’t a suspect or motive for the murders at Black Hill Farm.  That is until sixteen-year-old Benjamin McCloud walks into Beechers Hope Police Station, asking to be arrested for the killings.  During twelve police interviews, Benjamin gives a disturbing confession about his relationship with Andrea and how his love for her became a dangerous obsession. 
Finding themselves alone on a remote farm and desperate to stay together, Benjamin and Andrea’s world spirals out of control.  And as they fight for survival, every step they take leads them into an ever darker world of deceit, blackmail, and murder. 

A dark romance for young adults recommend for sixteen-year-olds and over. 

I’m still reeling an hour after finishing this novel—this was a superb read and I just can’t get over how incredibly creepy it is.  I feel a little like I’ve been kicked in the gut… a little queasy… but not in a bad way, if that makes sense?  It’s riveting and surprising and I still can’t catch my breath.  Black Hill Farm is a crazy psychological thriller, and I found it impossible to put down, especially as events began to pick up as Ben McCloud’s world sputtered out of control.

I love the way O’Rourke put this novel together; it’s the transcript of the police interview John Walker conducted with Ben McCloud as he confesses to the murders at Black Hill Farm.  Walker begins the story explaining that, in order to find peace, he feels the need to share the transcript, along with his thoughts and feelings, in order to clear the air.  From there, the novel takes off in rapid succession as McCloud starts his tale from the very beginning; from the first time he ever saw Black Hill Farm.

In the beginning I thought that Ben McCloud and John Walker were just two regular people, one doing his job, and one confessing to the atrocities the police are still trying to piece together.  However, as McCloud began explaining his revelations about Andy, his beautiful female cousin, it becomes apparent that McCloud isn’t just another run of the mill teen.  As the story progresses, and Walker learns more about Ben and Andy’s relationship, it become blatantly obvious that, psychologically speaking, both Andy and McCloud are somewhat deranged.

It’s a slow progression, going from sane to psychologically unstable, but it became more obvious, and at one point I was physically sickened by the events McCloud spoke of concerning the first death on the farm, yet those events are necessary to show just how truly psychotic Andy is, and how easily McCloud was sucked in to it all.  Yet, it’s the last quarter of the novel that really got me.  Nothing is as it seems, and McCloud’s revelations threw me off balance as new evidence came to light.  I can’t get over the ending.  I was shocked by it all—up until the dinner party I was just thinking that these kids were deranged and bad things kept happening, but everything changed once the party began—learning the truth made my jaw drop, and the intensity of the novel still has my gut in knots.  I really liked the ending, the twists, the entire novel was riveting, especially as Walker begins to explain exactly why he retired, and why he’s not necessarily a regular guy just doing his job…

You don’t want to miss this book, and you won’t want to miss the sequel either, which will be released shortly.  I cannot wait to read Andy’s Diary, a sequel that promises to shed light on the inner being of Andy.  Four and a half stars.

I received a copy of this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

et cetera
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