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Ana Reyes Books In Order

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Publication Order of AnaReyes Standalone Novels

The House in the Pines (2023)Description / Buy at Amazon

Ana Reyes is an American author of mystery books. She has a BA from the University of Massachusetts and an MFA from Louisiana State University. Her literary work has been featured in The New Delta Review, Bodega, and Pear Noir, among other platforms. She resides in Los Angeles, where she lives with her husband, and is a creative writing teacher at Santa Monica College.

In House in the Pines, we meet Maya is just getting her life firmly back in shape when she discovers a viral video and finds out that the person who got away with brutally killing her closest friend when they were just teens has done it again. The video appears to be pretty harmless. The grainy security footage depicts a male and a woman entering a diner, ordering food, and conversing. Before you know it, the woman is dead and lying on the table. Tragic but by no means suggestive of foul play.

However, Maya identifies the man in the footage as her former lover Frank, who almost wrecked her relationship with Aubrey seven years earlier. Maya had witnessed a seemingly normal conversation between the two before Aubrey’s death, just as the woman in the footage had. Back then, she did not doubt that Frank had murdered Aubrey, but no one believed her, not the police, her mother, or even the therapist her mother engaged in to help Maya manage her grief.

As a result of this tragedy, Maya leaves her home for college in Boston, where she commits herself to nightlife and barely manages to graduate. Along the way, she encounters Dan, a reliable law student. She doesn’t anticipate falling in love, yet the two develop a powerful bond that lasts much longer than she ever imagined was possible.

Their relationship is tested when a string of poor decisions, including prescription drugs, drinking, and maintaining secrets, culminating in an especially humiliating incident involving his parents. Maya decides to return home to dry off and, more importantly, put her worries about Frank to rest. Like every other person in her life, Dan doesn’t quite get her obsession with her ex. After all, there are many plausible explanations other than Frank being some mystic killer explaining why the girl in the footage collapsed abruptly.

Maya’s return to Pittsfield proves to be a better decision than she anticipated, as it provides her a chance to play detective and retrieve the manuscript her deceased Guatemalan father was working on before his death. Maya wonders if the words her father penned before she was born might hold the solution to this riddle, for she and Frank had first bonded over Guatemala. Can she discover something within the pages of his manuscript that could protect her as she prepares to face Frank about Aubrey?

This uncommon thriller walks the thin line between fiction and reality with remarkable skill. While thoroughly grounded in logic, the book is replete with supernatural overtones, submerging the reader in Maya’s fanciful and sometimes terrifying reality. You will appreciate the investigation of Maya’s troubled relationships, especially with Aubrey and her mother. Because policing continues to evolve, it is incredible to witness the contrast between how Maya was treated by the police seven years ago and now.

Here is an outward look at The House in the Pines. The book begins with the phrase, “Deep in the woods, there’s a house that’s easy to miss,” that statement makes the House itself a main character whose lungs inhale the emotions of Reye’s protagonists and antagonists. Through flashbacks incorporated into the story, we witness Maya’s friendship with Aubrey and the circumstances that led to her death.

With a deeper look into this story, we can see the heroine’s struggle with antidepressants, which was clarified earlier, and her insistence on the fact that Frank is the man responsible for Aubrey’s daughter. The fact that no one believes her pushes her into a cycle of doubt, placing her on a hamster wheel of justification. Despite not a single soul believing her, she makes a run for home and puts herself on the path of discovering the truth.

An essential sign of any honest literature is not how deeply you understand it but rather how well the work of literature understands you. Regarding The House in the Pines, it succeeds in two different yet connected internal mechanisms.

The first is an unpublished novel by Maya’s father, a victim of Guatemala’s Silent Holocaust, whose transcribed manuscript serves as an ongoing pattern in her life. It also unites her and Frank, as her attentive reading piques his interest. After a discussion, they start an intense connection that is abruptly ended by Aubrey’s sudden passing. Beyond this nominal enigma, the violence of Maya’s family history lingers as the novel’s core horror, serving as a backdrop for the scars of its conclusion.

Here, the narrative serves as both a catalyst and an anchor for struggle. Reyes provides us with not one but two out of a possible three combination lock codes for the mental strain that Maya lugs at any given moment through frequent references to books for kids, literature, classic literature, and Greek mythology. Death is always her backdrop, whether it be the aunt she never met or her grandmother whose death transports her to Guatemala and places her father’s pages in her hands. As Maya’s current investigation progresses, it becomes evident that the cabin is another psychological trigger. Frank carefully created it as a refuge from a turbulent (and troubling) upbringing. In this regard, the cabin is a repository of memories partly because it represents a gap in the emotional shifts of those whose presence it has influenced.

The significance of its forest location further validates the suspense narrative as a coping mechanism. According to Reyes, “Maya’s life has been split into a Before and After” following the untimely death of her best companion. Any subsequent sorrow leaves a vacuum that other people’s words must supply.

In any case, writing freezes memories in time and reminds us that events occurred. The House in the Pines was an excellent debut psychological suspense novel. It centers on friendship, family, addiction, mother-daughter relationships, trust, and self-belief. The book’s premise is highly original. If you appreciate psychological thrillers and can tolerate a slow tempo in the middle of the book, then The House in the Pines is highly recommended.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Ana Reyes

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