First of all, let me say, Susie Moloney scares the hell out of me. Here she is, unassuming in her snuggly white turtleneck sweater with just a glint of something mysterious in her eye. Do not let her fool you, my friends. Susie is not thinking about sitting at the ski lodge in her sweater drinking hot cocoa. No, Susie is thinking about dark and sinister things, and she’s very good at it
In her latest novel, The Thirteen, Moloney introduces us to Paula Wittmore, a down-on-her-luck single mother who has just lost another low-paying job and isn’t fairing much better with her moody tween daughter, Ro. When Paula receives a call saying her mother has been stricken with a mysterious illness, she decides it’s time to go back to her home town, the one she hasn’t seen since she left in disgrace when she was a teenager. There, she must face old demons and new ones, literally, and piece together her mother’s secrets before her daughter has to pay the ultimate price for the greed in Haven Wood.
In The Thirteen, Moloney creates a world where modern day witches have forsaken their broomsticks for SUVs and suburbia makes a nice cover for their evil deeds. In Haven Woods when a new friend asks you to come “meet the other girls,” you should politely decline and RUN, because this group could get you killed, particularly if you’re unlucky number 13.
Moloney writes with a dark wit, even when she’s describing the mundane. “Those tidy lawns, those trim hedges, that fresh paint. You just know some woman inside that house is going slowly batshit.”
When you read a book do you skip the Prologue so you can just get right to the action? Don’t do that. The Prologue of The Thirteen is written with the well-polished creep-tastic gore of Stephen King. It’s the hook. You’ll definitely say, “what the what,” then lock all your doors, pull your covers up to your chin, turn the page and dive in for more.