Cold, grey abandoned towns leave behind a lot of questions. What happened to cause the demise? Was there one big event or lots of little incidents that forced the once-thriving area to die? Where did the people who resided in the town go?
In Camila Sten’s debut adult thriller, THE LOST VILLAGE, the 900 residents of Silvertjärn, Sweden disappeared in 1959. All that was left of the town were dirty dishes left on tables, schoolbooks open on the desks, a deceased woman tied to a pole and a newborn left behind in the nurse’s office.
Documentary filmmaker Alice Lindstedt has been obsessed with the vanishing residents of an old mining town, dubbed “The Lost Village,” since she was a little girl. In 1959, her grandmother’s entire family disappeared in the mysterious tragedy, and ever since the unanswered questions surrounding the only two people were left – a woman stoned to deah 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, strange 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.
CONTENT WARNING: Heavy topics in THE LOST VILLAGE include depression, rape, abortion and attempted suicide.
Understanding mental illness is a major theme of the book. Sten stated in the book’s foreward she wanted to highlight female mental illness. “There are three female characters in the book suffering from mental illness, and they are all perceived and treated differently,” she said.
Sten also weaved a fascinating cult storyline into THE LOST VILLAGE. I’m a sucker for cult plot and it was easy to see how the town, living on hopelessness, could easily become followers of a charismatic preacher. I would have liked for Sten to develop the leader more because we get small glimpses of him instead of an encompassing side plot into how he gathered his flock of followers.
The book has mixed reviews because while it has been compared to a cross between Blair Witch Project and Midsommar, it’s not as “scary” as some readers would have liked.
The story kept me intrigued from the start and I was dying to know exactly what happened to the citizens. I loved the creepy setting, the coldness and the rain. Sten’s descriptions made way for the sense of impending doom throughout the book.
Often compared to Blair Witch Project and Midsommar, THE LOST VILLAGE kind of made me want to watch Blair Witch Project. I’ve never seen that movie before, but now that I know – spoiler alert! – the entire movie was just a fictional movie, meh… I have seen Midsommar and Florence Pugh was the BEST thing about that movie. However, I can see the similarities between those movies and this book.
I’ll stick with THE LOST VILLAGE instead.
I rate THE LOST VILLAGE 4 out of 5 stars.