I received a free copy from the publishers via Edelweiss.
“In the rugged, underbrush-riddled rural town of Peculiar, Missouri, at the beginning of a January sleet storm, and beneath the dimming orange hues of dusk, a body lay half out of the window that led to the high school basement.”
It had so much potential and could have been great, but I personally found it a little disappointing and average. It was still an OK read though.
Feral by Holly Schindler begins by describing the disposing of Serena’s body by her killer, from her POV. Strange, I know, considering she’s dead an’ all. It was at that moment that I knew this had such potential to be a dark and haunting psychological thriller. Sadly, I found it didn’t live up to my high expectations. Feral follows the story of Claire who was brutally beaten back in Chicago and has the opportunity to build a new life. However, she’s thrust in to the peculiar way of things in a small town in Missouri. When she finds Serena’s body behind the high school, surrounded by the towns feral cats. Yes, that’s right. Cats. Scary, feral cats. Again, I thought it had so much potential to be creepy. Yet I was left feeling like an unsatisfied reader at the end of it. It’s not a bad book, it’s actually quite good and tackles some very important issues. However, it was not what I was expecting, nor did it live up to my expectations and thus I can’t quite give it more than 3 stars.
Feral has a riveting murder mystery plot. Serena’s death is ruled an accident, but she knows that’s not true and vows to find out the truth. However, at times the story became very hard to continue with, despite Schindler’s lovely narrative, and I had to take several reading breaks. Plot-wise, it’s a good book, and I think it’s one of Feral’s main strengths, but for me in was lacking in the psychological thriller aspect. I just didn’t feel it at all, and it saddens me.
The characterization was also another strength of Schindler’s. Whilst I had never gone through anything like Claire had, I found myself very much empathizing, with is essential for a reader to be able to do with the characters on a page. I’m also very glad that there wasn’t any romance. It hints, a friendship develops, but it’s very much a sub-plot and therefore you can put your full attention on the story at hand.
Overall, the story did not reach my expectations, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a good book, just not the great one I was hoping for. If you like murder mysteries, knock yourself out. Though the result is quite tame.