The Resting Place by Camilla Sten is a new horror with old twists. Eleanor, or Victoria, witnessed her grandmother’s murder- but who did it, and why?
The medical term is prosopagnosia. The average person calls it face blindness—the inability to recognize a familiar person’s face, even the faces of those closest to you.
When Eleanor walked in on the scene of her capriciously cruel grandmother, Vivianne’s, murder, she came face to face with the killer—a maddening expression that means nothing to someone like her. With each passing day, her anxiety mounts. The dark feelings of having brushed by a killer, yet not know who could do this—or if they’d be back—overtakes both her dreams and her waking moments, thwarting her perception of reality.
Then a lawyer calls. Vivianne has left her a house—a looming estate tucked away in the Swedish woods. The place her grandfather died, suddenly. A place that has housed a dark past for over fifty years.
Eleanor. Her steadfast boyfriend, Sebastian. Her reckless aunt, Veronika. The lawyer. All will go to this house of secrets, looking for answers. But as they get closer to bringing the truth to light, they’ll wish they had never come to disturb what rests there. A heart-thumping, relentless thriller that will shake you to your core, The Resting Place is an unforgettable novel of horror and suspense.
All quotes are from an advanced reader copy, and may or may not reflect the published edition.
“It felt wrong to think of her as old- she was just Vivianne, ageless.”
Having read and deeply enjoyed The Lost Village by Sten, I was excited to get my hands on this one. The idea of prosopagnosia being used in a thriller in such a way was intriguing, and I was really interested to see how Sten managed to use it. However, for an aspect to be relevant enough to include it in the synopsis, it truly was the weakest aspect of the book. There were many more, interesting and frightening details that should have been included. I feel like this will almost mislead readers about what they’re getting into. This isn’t a thriller about face-blindness, it’s a thriller WITH face-blindness.
“I’m the ferret- small, lightning-quick, inconspicuous. And I can learn.”
The story is slow and claustrophobic. Stuck in an old set of buildings, snowed in, and with a missing groundskeeper- it’s no wonder strange things keep happening. It’s the perfect formula for the mind to play tricks on you, especially when there’s a murderer loose in the house. The face-blindness only played a role in that you somewhat suspect everyone Eleanor interacts with as being the killer. This gets tricky, as you sometimes lean towards hating completely reasonable characters.
I found Eleanor a really interesting protagonist, though. I enjoyed the way she processed information. She also held her ground when everyone was insinuating she was crazy. The story almost gave me the claustrophobic, undercurrent of oddity as The Flowers in the Attic (without the incest trope). This was really enjoyable, but admittedly, I expected more from Sten.
“You realize that, don’t you? Everything has to change.”
This book is heavily a slow burn, and unfortunately, unlike The Lost Village, the peak was “meh”. I really wanted more from the ending and was a bit bummed out when I didn’t get it. The twist did surprise me, but I wonder if it was because of the prosopagnosia as a scapegoat instead of making it a real twist. The story was good but definitely could have been a bit faster-paced, and a bit more fleshed out with the face-blindness concept.
“Something has to break. I just hope it isn’t me.”
Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.