When Alex is given the opportunity of a lifetime in Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos, she never expects it all to go so wrong so fast. Or does it?
From the Blurb:
Alex Rush is ready for the trip of a lifetime.
She and her friends have made some creepily awesome films together throughout high school, so with only a few months left before they go their separate ways for college, they’re determined to make the best one yet: an epic short film that reimagines the story of Dracula, filmed on location at a remote castle in Romania.
But when they get there, it’s not quite the majestic setting they planned for. Menacing weapons line the walls, the twisted halls are easy to get lost in, and with no connection to the outside world, the group is unexpectedly off the grid. After just a few hours spent under its roof, Alex and her friends have no trouble imagining how this dark, terrifying castle inspired one of the most enduring horror novels of all time.
Only soon they no longer have to use their imaginations to understand the location’s terrifying history — just as they get the film’s first shot rolling, one of Alex’s friends disappears, and she’s nearly certain she saw a cloaked stranger lurking in the shadows. As more members of the group begin to meet an untimely demise, Alex is desperate to stop the bloodshed, even if it means facing a monster she never thought would be let loose.
Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos is told in a fractured manner. When we first meet Alex, she’s in a hospital bed in Romania with the police trying to piece together how a group of American teens on a movie set ended up dead with her as the sole survivor. Her story starts a few weeks before Romania, as she worries about college applications, mounting family debt, a dwindling romance and a disconnected friend group all of which has led to her mounting anxiety throughout.
As a character, I never knew what to think of her. Her struggles make her sympathetic but she often internalises anything that’s slighted her which leads to a lot of internal conflict and criticism on her side towards everyone around her. Meanwhile her interactions with the others are perfectly friendly and cheerful as she doesn’t want to burden them. This tension between her and her friend group continues to escalate, especially as each member is picked off until she’s left alone with her unresolved feelings.
The rest of the friend group was interesting, though few stood out to me. I was surprised at the order in which they died, and the posthumous musings over their lives helped cement each as their own character since they finally get their moment.
Plot-wise, Go Hunt Me delivers everything you’d want from a mystery thriller: a group of unsuspecting bright eyed teens, a creepy setting and a creative yet elusive serial killer. DeVos builds up the emotional side of things to get her readers invested in the characters as each person has their own secret motivations for being on the trip, while her writing continuously builds tension which each new scene. True to Alex’s dream of being a screenwriter, the book unfolds similarly to a slasher film with all the horror elements attached.
By using Alex as the single POV character in Go Hunt Me, Kelly deVos constructs a narrative based on a wholly unreliable narrator. This makes reading the book particularly exciting as deVos fools her readers time and time again right up to the epilogue. The fact that the story is told across various types of written media only adds to this idea that the story is something we need to puzzle out of our remaining character, along with the police.
Go Hunt Me by Kelly deVos did justice to the mystery thriller genre. As my first foray into such a book, I felt surprised, horrified, intrigued and every other emotion under the sun so I can’t help but recommend it if that’s your cup of tea.