What you can't remember could destroy you...

About the Book

From an exciting new writer comes a debut thriller in which a young woman must find her way back to a New England cabin, armed with only hazy, haunting memories and a half-written book by the father in Guatemala she never knew, to finally uncover the truth that could save her.

Maya was a high school senior when her best friend, Aubrey, mysteriously dropped dead in front of the enigmatic man named Frank whom they'd been hanging around with all summer.

Seven years later, Maya lives in Boston with a loving boyfriend and is kicking the secret addiction that's allowed her to cope with what happened all those years ago; the gaps in her memories and the lost time that she can’t account for. But her past comes rushing back when she comes across a recent YouTube video in which a young woman suddenly keels over and dies in a diner while sitting across from none other than Frank. Plunged back into the trauma that has defined her life, Maya heads to her Berkshires postindustrial hometown to relive that fateful summer—the influence Frank once had on her, and the obsessive jealousy that nearly destroyed her friendship with Aubrey. And before too long all roads are leading back to Frank's cabin…

Utterly unique and captivating, The House in the Pines keeps you guessing about whether we can ever fully confront the past and return home.

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Deep in these woods, there is a house that’s easy to miss.

Most people, in fact, would take one look and insist it’s not there. And they wouldn’t be wrong, not completely. What they would see are a house’s remains, a crumbling foundation crawling with weeds. A house long since aban­doned. But look closely at the ground here, at this concrete scarred by sun and ice. This is where the fireplace goes. If you look deeply enough, a spark will ignite. And if you blow on it, that spark will bloom into a blaze, a warm light in this cold dark forest.

If you come closer, out of the cold, the fire gets stronger, blows smoke in your eyes, tumbling smoke with a burning- pine smell that sweetens to the smell of perfume, then soft­ens to the smell of your mother’s coat. She’s murmuring in the next room. Turn around and here come the walls, shyly, like deer emerging from the trees. Frozen concrete becomes an area rug. Take off your shoes, stay a while. Outside the wind is rising, and there comes a clacking, a close, rapid chatter. It must be the windows in their sashes. A light snow sifts from the sky, blanketing this cozy home. Tucking it in for the night. “Goodnight little house, and goodnight mouse.” Remember? For once, there is no reason to get up, no one to chase or run away from. From the kitchen comes the smell of home, the sounds of a sauté. This is how the world was once, before the first colic, the first scald, the first getting lost. And this is why you do it. “Goodnight nobody, goodnight mush. And goodnight to the old lady whispering ‘hush.’”

Get a good night’s sleep, because when you wake, this house will be gone.

Excerpted from The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

About the Author

Ana Reyes
Photo: © Christopher Brown

Ana Reyes

Ana Reyes has an MFA from Louisiana State University. Her work has appeared in Bodega, Pear Noir, The New Delta Review, and elsewhere. She lives in Los Angeles where she teaches creative writing to older adults at Santa Monica College. The House in the Pines is her first novel.

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