The Lost Village: A Novel Audible Audiobook – Unabridged
2021 NPR Best Book of the Year
"Narrator Angela Dawe raises the stakes in this atmospheric horror novel...Her varying pacing amps up the suspense, and her flexible voice breathes life into the multitude of characters, regardless of gender and age. Horror listeners will be on the edge of their seats." (AudioFile Magazine, Earphones Award winner)
A Most Anticipated Book Goodreads * Publishers Weekly * Crime Reads * Popsugar * Bookish
A Library Reads Pick!
The Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar in this brilliantly disturbing thriller from Camilla Sten, an electrifying new voice in suspense.
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of the old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village”, since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in this mysterious tragedy, and ever since, the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people who were left - a woman stoned to death in the town center and an abandoned newborn - have plagued her. She’s gathered a small crew of friends in the remote village to make a film about what really happened.
But there will be no turning back.
Not long after they’ve set up camp, mysterious things begin to happen. Equipment is destroyed. People go missing. As doubt breeds fear and their very minds begin to crack, one thing becomes startlingly clear to Alice:
They are not alone.
They’re looking for the truth....
But what if it finds them first?
Come find out.
A Macmillan Audio production from Minotaur Books
"An enthralling and claustrophobic read. Camilla Sten has written a lurid thriller that will send shivers down your spine." (M.T. Edvardsson, author of A Nearly Normal Family)
"Come for the mounting horror and scares, but stay for a devastating examination of the nature of family secrets." (New York Times Book Review)
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|Listening Length||9 hours and 42 minutes|
|Author||Alexandra Fleming - translator, Camilla Sten|
|Audible.ca Release Date||March 23 2021|
|Best Sellers Rank|| #16,967 in Audible Books & Originals (See Top 100 in Audible Books & Originals) |
#339 in Crime Thrillers (Audible Books & Originals)
#644 in Horror Fiction (Audible Books & Originals)
#1,135 in Suspense (Audible Books & Originals)
Top reviews from Canada
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The Lost Village involves dual timelines, one in the past in the days before the whole village disappeared and one timeline in the present with a group making a documentary about the strange event. It begins with the filmmakers seeing the village for the first time after they make the long, difficult drive to the remote location. As they first enter the ghost town you just know that nothing good will come of this. Anyone who has ever watched a horror film will be screaming at them to turn back. Of course, they are determined and intend to set up camp and explore the seemingly quaint abandoned village. The generally ominous atmosphere only intrigues them more as they attempt to capture its intrinsic menace in photos for their Instagram. As you can imagine bad things happen and terror ensues. I won’t spoil anything for you but holy crow, it is ridiculously tense and suspenseful and quite possibly the scariest book I have ever read.
For the vast majority of the book I didn’t have a clue as to the fate of the previous villagers and I couldn't see know how the present events were connected. Nearer the end I had some suspicions and could anticipate where it was going but when the explanations were revealed I was stunned. It made perfect sense and was a lot sadder than I was expecting. No spoilers but I did see a lot of parallels between things happening in America today and the fate of the village. I’m pretty sure this was written well before the pertinent events and that the author wasn’t intending to shine a spotlight on this particular issue, but it has ended up being very timely and prescient. I don’t know what is scarier, the unknown threat at the beginning of the story or the real threat that is revealed at the end. This is all around a chilling story and these monsters, real and imagined, will haunt me for a long while.
Thank you to Minotaur Books for providing an Electronic Advance Reader Copy via NetGalley for review.
This book is atmospheric and chilling. The author has a haunting prose that made even the most ordinary and normally simple things seem suspicious and eerie. When the blurb compared this book to the Blair Witch Project meets Midsommar, I was a little wary, but these comparators are entirely accurate. Even during the first of their five day stay in the town, there are creepy occurrences which might be supernatural in origin or signs that things aren’t as they appear with her crew. Or, they might just be easily explained away as coincidence or Alice's overactive imagination.
The crew is small and full of relatable, interesting characters. Alice had to hire her former best friend, Emmy, as director, but they had a falling out back when they were still in college. Tensions are high between those two and everyone else, especially as things start to go south.
In addition to the letters, there are two timelines in the novel. “Now” features the film crew that’s shown up at Silvertjarn to get preliminary footage to show to backers to hopefully get the support they need for this documentary.
There’s also a “Then” timeline, which follows Alice’s great-grandmother, Elsa, in the months leading up to the mass disappearance. Unfortunately, this is where the book fell a little flat to me. While the present day events are rife with foreboding, this tension didn’t quite carry through in the past timeline. Quite a few of the excerpts felt like filler. They were quite short, and they didn’t serve much more than to provide a little backstory about the town and to set the stage for what might happen. It felt like the author didn't need both the "Then" timeline and the letters, and it might have worked better if she had chosen one and gone a little deeper with it. I also can't help but wonder if the "Then" chapters were longer, maybe I would have become more invested in what was to come for Elsa, and maybe there could have been more characters as red herrings to make the story less linear and the twist about what happened to the town a little more surprising.
That said, the present day twists prior to the final twist were quite good. I was shocked a few times by the events that took place. Unfortunately (I’ve said that word a couple of times in this review, unf--sadly), the final twist required a little too much suspension of disbelief. I had so many questions, many of which were somewhat answered, but not well enough for my liking.
I'm giving this book 4 stars, because while I had some issues with the past timeline and the final twist, it was extremely well written, the characters were relatable, and the story itself was quite clever.
I recommend this book to those who love a fast-paced, spooky thriller that has a compelling and clever plot.
*Thank you to the publisher and Netgalley for the ebook to review*
Top reviews from other countries
A solid start. It drew me in and set a good scene. A couple of creepy moments early on. Those feelings of being watched, of someone in standing at the periphery. The "Then" sections were interesting, the letters, the sinister cult leader. But then it started to fall apart and by the conclusion was laughable. Daft is the best way to describe it. We needed more back story as the conclusion of "Then" was rushed. "Now" was no better, and it felt like the author had lost her way with it. A shame as it could have been an excellent piece of horror.
Giving it 2/5 for a decent start.
But the ending seems far too rushed.
The town is heavily overrun with nature, but still looks like a snapshot from the 50's - tiny houses all identical in a row, the old school house where the only living person, a tiny newborn baby, was recovered back in 1959 and the ominous church.
During their visit, Alice and her team are plagued with thoughts of being watched and weird out of place things happening. Is this a result of paranoia? Or some sort of poisoning from the mine?
I'd love to say that I really enjoyed the read, but it just didn't love all of it. It was flat and slow through most of the book and really veered away from where I expected it to be. The whole idea of taking video and photos trying to plug a documentary to investors was lost. There was also quite an ere of unbelievability. The ending didn't come as a shock really, since I picked up on that quite early in the read and I think that lead to it being a little less enjoyable.
There were certain moments that just didn't seem to have the emotional or shock value impact I think they were meant to, and I found myself going 'welp, on we go I guess'.
I'd recommend this one for anyone who finds themselves an amateur sleuth. Who wants a real ghost story, instead of a supernatural one. Fans of mystery, thrillers and the unknown will also enjoy this one. There is also some heavy dealings in parts, including mistreatment of mentally disabled women and themes of depression and other psychological disorders.
Alice Lindstedt, a documentary film maker, has been obsessed with the story of The Lost Village for as long as she can remember. In 1959 her Grandmother's whole family disappeared, along with the rest of the town, leaving behind a woman who was stoned to death in the town square, and a baby crying in the school nurse's office. No one knows what befell the unfortunate townsfolk, but Alice is hoping she can find out. Together with a small group, she heads to the village to start filming for a documentary she hopes to make, while bringing to light what really happened there. Once they arrive and set up camp, however, strange things start to happen, people disappear and equipment is destroyed. It now seems that they're not entirely alone. Alice came here looking for the truth, but what if the truth finds her first?
This was up there as one of my most anticipated reads. I've been dying to get my hands on it since I first came across it on Goodreads, but it proved quite difficult to find, until it wasn't!! You better believe I did a little happy dance when this was on it's way to me. I did have momentary fear that I may have ruined it for myself by being so excited (as has happened with a couple of my most anticipated reads this year), but thankfully this one didn't disappoint.
I'm a sucker for a good spooky story, ones set against abandoned or strangely abandoned places are even better, so this one was right up my alley. Throw in a little isolation due to location, and I am one happy panda. This story is told through alternating chapters between present day from Alice's point of view, and 1959 told from Alice's Great Grandmother's point of view in the time leading up to the event that caused the townsfolk to disappear. I absolutely loved reading both POVs which was a nice surprise. Normally when there's dual POVs in a story, I tend to gravitate to one more than the other, this one however, I was completely engrossed in both stories, and I absolutely loved the delicious feelings of anticipation that bubbled up as the story moved towards the climax in both timelines.
Sten has done a great job of really placing the reader into a chilling atmosphere, doing a fantastic job of creating the feeling of total isolation in both the past and the present timelines, both of which are caused by different things. The slow decent into madness from the townsfolk in 1959 was so subtle and well written, the horror of it all just snuck up on me. Yes, I had a strong feeling about a couple of things that were going to happen, and I was right, this still didn't take away from the story at all. I had no idea where the present story line was headed, and I will say that I was pleasantly surprised and got that reveal at the same time as the characters which was great. I also feel like the way the two timelines flowed together was brilliant. It was such a wonderfully executed story and I really feel like Sten did a fantastic job at weaving all the threads together.
The characters were wonderfully written and I really felt like I was right there with them. I enjoyed Alice's character, her plights and her innate need to have this documentary be a success - even to the detriment of the others. She was a beautifully flawed character which really made her jump off the page. I also loved the backstory weaved between her and another member of her team. I was appalled at a certain revelation between Alice and yet another character, as it came out of the blue, though I feel like this was done intentionally so we could be just as thrown as Alice was in this particular scene. The characters from 1959 were so well written and I really adored them, even those that I absolutely hated. They were all so well written, especially the girl that Alice's Great Grandmother cared for while in the village. I'm trying to be as vague as possible because I feel like it's better going into this learning as you go.
One thing I was highly impressed with, was the fact that this book was actually translated into English. Had I not known that, I honestly don't think I would have worked it out. It's that well done. I've read very few translations, but it's because I find them to be clunky and I feel like a certain magic is lost when the story is translated out of it's original language. This one however, was done absolutely flawlessly and I applaud the translator for their skill, for reference, the translator is Alexandra Fleming.
All in all, this was such a fun romp through an abandoned village with a harrowing past. It really showed us horror in a different light, the horror of manipulation and the horror of people themselves and what they're capable of. It really did live up to my expectations, and while the story was a bit different to what I WAS expecting, it was not disappointing at all, in fact, I feel like it ended up better. If you love a good horror that's just a fun ride with creepy atmosphere and well written characters who are just trying to survive, give this one a go!