Waking Hours, by Lis Wiehl, is one fantastically scary novel that takes place in and around East Salem, New York. This sleepy little town has a terrifying secret. The story occurs over a very eventful 2 weeks, from October 15 to October 29.
Tommy Gunderson, a famous ex-football player, lives in East Salem. While playing pro-football, Tommy accidentally killed a player on the opposing team. It haunted him to the point that he quit football and opened a fitness center. On the night of October 15, he discovers that he has an intruder. He finds an old and possibly senile woman spouting nonsense, not all of it in English, sitting next to his pond. She dumps a dead frog, with its guts hanging out, in his hands.
Meanwhile, a young girl, Julie Leonard, is gruesomely murdered while at a party. Her eyes were burned out of their sockets, a cavity burned out in the middle of her chest and a strange marking drawn in blood on her stomach. The symbol was drawn with blood from five different people. From evidence left at the scene, it appears that at least 4, and possibly as many as 10 people were involved in her death. Turns out she was at a party that evening. And all of the other teenagers who were there with her are suspects, but none of them seem to have any memory of what happened.
Dani, the forensic psychiatrist, knows Tommy Gunderson. They had attended the same school and went on one date. Dani had some pretty strong feelings for him, but she was convinced that he did not have those same feelings for her. She lost her parents some time ago when the plane they were on simply disappeared. She blames herself for their supposed deaths and dreams about her mom or dad, sometimes both of them, almost every night. And she always wakes up at 2:13. Sometimes she even sleepwalks.
Strange things have been happening like mad in and around East Salem - A deer is found entangled in the wires fifteen feet above the asphalt. That is something you just don't see every day. The deer had to be put down, so it was shot in the head. The school Dani's sister attends is suddenly having a problem with head lice. Red Gate Farm keeps horses and they have all been found to be sick. Two girls who have been riding horses kept at this farm have boils from botflies. A man's car is damaged by hail, but there hasn't been a hailstorm. An entire city just north of East Salem is plunged into complete darkness due to a power outage. A lady in Willow Ponds with a solarium had to burn her palms and order new ones because of locusts. A tree stump is found full of blood. And don't forget the murder of Julie Leonard.
There is a presence watching and waiting. Something that is a killer, something that isn't human. This evil presence that is able to be felt can only be seen on video that has been slowed drastically down. Tommy feels this presence watching him. Dani feels this presence in bed with her, even feels its hot breath on her neck one scary night. The next night she stays at Tommy's luxurious house. In the morning, a knife is found underneath her pillow by Tommy, but there is absolutely no footage of her on the security camera leaving her bed. Once Tommy slows the film down, he can see a figure passing through the walls of his house at 2:13 in the morning and passing right back outside. And the figure is blue to purple, not red. There is no heat present there, only extreme coldness.
Some of those events might not seem strange to you, but when you look at them all together, there is something rather odd. I'm not going to ruin it and tell you what all of the above events have in common. You will have to read the book and find out for yourself. Lis Wiehl takes readers on a journey through some really high tension events. She even manages to work some romance into this horrifying tale. At first, you just pick up on the fact that something different, something terrifying is going on. For some reason, you can't put your finger on exactly what it is. When the moment comes that you figure out just what is involved, you are scared and unable to put the book down.
This review has not even begun to cover what happens in the pages of this thrilling novel. If you like a story that will keep you turning page after page with anticipation, one that will hold your interest so greatly that it will keep you from doing your housework, I urge you to get a copy of this one. There is no bad language or embarrassing scenes in it that would make it unfit for younger readers.
I received an ebook copy of this novel free of charge from Net Galley If you would like your own personal copy of this book, I have provided a link below where you can purchase it from Amazon. If you choose to buy a copy of this book through my Amazon link below, it will not affect your cost any, but will supplement my income just a little.