Our main character, Harrison Allen, returns to Vermont to stay on an island in a friend’s abandoned old house in order to research and look for the infamous Lake Champlain monster. Don’t be fooled though, the monster is simply a plot device to get Harrison to the island. Much stranger happenings occur on the island that makes Harrison along with the new-ish local schoolteacher believe they may be going insane. Harrison does try to seek out the monster, and he asks a few people on the island about the monster but mostly gets the cold shoulder. People on this island don’t take warmly to strangers. Especially ones who are poking their nose in things the locals would rather stay hidden. Not to mention, he’s living in the mysterious “captain’s house,” completely isolated from the small town. Just another piece of the puzzle that leave the locals feeling uneasy.
I will say, this was a pretty dismal novel in terms of events that happen to the characters and the overall outcome for our protagonist, Harrison. It was still a compelling read though! I saw a review that said Citro did for Vermont what Stephen King did for Maine. I don’t know if I’d put Citro on par with King, Citro being a bit more crass, but it was engaging – and unnerving for sure. It’s got all the gothic elements: creepy, ramshackle house (possibly haunted? or concealing a treasure?), an old lady known to the town as a witch, shady religious backgrounds, a strange, bipedal thing that is only ever vaguely described which is seen following our protagonists, and a possible lake monster to top things off. What more could you ask for?