Follow You Home
Review by: Mark Palm
To paraphrase Tolkien, “It’s a dangerous business going out your door, because there is no knowing where you might end up.” Some people thought that Tolkien was speaking of adventure, and some say that it was fear. In truth you can’t have one without the other, but for now, I am talking about fear, the fear of the unknown, and what might be lurking for you far from home, where no one knows your face or speaks your language. It’s an old and primal fear used to very good effect in Follow You Home by Mark Edwards.
Daniel and Laurel are a young professional couple who plan on settling in London, getting married and starting a family after they finish their backpack and hostel tour of Europe. Traveling by train through Romania, they meet a young native couple, Ion and Alina. Ion talks the couple into napping in a sleeper car for which they have no tickets. They are caught by guards, and discover that someone has stolen their passports, tickets and money. Along with Alina, who attempts to help them, are thrown out at a stop in the middle of nowhere. After being threatened by dogs the trio decide to walk along the tracks until they find a station where they can get help. Alina disappears, and the couple come upon a cottage in the woods so sinister that it might have come from a Grimm fairytale. Then something horrible happens.
I am not just avoiding spoilers here. The novel flashes forward three months, and our couple are back in London, and they are falling apart. They have split up, with Daniel drifting into alcoholism and Laura into depression and hallucinations. Whatever happened was so terrible that it is ruining their lives, and the rest of the novel delves into David and Laura’s lives; both what is happening now, and what happened back in Romania.
John and Laura are well-rounded, believable characters. Edwards does a good job of showing them unravel before our eyes. Some of the other characters are solid if unspectacular, with the exception of Alina, whom seems to vibrate with life on the page. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot, and it never seems to contrived or forced. The prose is smooth and capable, and Mr. Edwards does an exceptional job in showing the characters question and struggle with their grip of reality.
Where Mr. Edwards really shines is in his portrayal of evil. A lot of writers try but he really brings the dark side to life with an almost tangible effect. Without being too disgusting or bloody Mr. Edwards made the hair on the back of my neck stand up more than once. The title of this book is very appropriate, because this novel followed me even after I finished it up.