Haze, by Rebecca Crunden, is an intense novel that takes the reader on the equivalent of a wild, emotional ride that plays with the senses. I should also add that I did not expect a small book to be packed with so much humanity.
I knew the story was about a mystery following the return of a man – Erik – to a small town. Erik was the sweetheart of Eliza – the main character – but he left the town following a tragedy. Now, so many years later, the couple have gone from heading to the altar to being complete strangers. At the same time, there’s a supernatural mystery going on, one they must unravel before Erik leaves again.
The thing about this book is that it’s not only a mystery, but also a drama. It is an exquisite study of the human condition – of how we react to trauma, how we cope with tragedy or guilt, and how we find humor in the worst moments. Every single character in this novel is interesting, not a placeholder, while each emotion is genuine, rather than treated as a device to take the reader into the next chapter.
The best part about this book is how the main character Eliza is real. Too real! Sometimes I wanted her to be a little less so. So if you’re easily triggered by addiction, trauma, etc., then maybe this isn’t the book for you as at times it does get quite dark, although to the end it is wholly fascinating.
I am so happy I read this novel and I recommend it to anyone who likes the idea of being taken on an emotional ride! If you like darkness with a twist of the supernatural, and the basic trope of ‘two lovers meet many years after a tragedy’, then this is definitely one for you.
Reviewed by Violeta Nedkova