I received an E-arc from Darkfuse Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Peter has taken his family to do some Christmas shopping, his kids spy a Christmas themed electric train and even though the man operating the train gives Peter the willies he decides to let his kids go off unescorted for an 18min journey.
His uncle advises him against it and stands waiting for their return whilst Peter decides to get out of the cold into the nearest bar as his wife, Ava, gets on with the shopping. As Peter sits at the bar he begins to feel unsettled especially as his watch refuses to move past 6.42 and there is no sign of his kids coming back from their trip. Uncle Buster has also disappeared and someone strange is now answering Ava's phone. Panic begins to set in and Peter feels he is missing some vital detail that will help him make sense of what is going on.
As the pieces of the story begin to come together we see how Peter's past is now influencing his present state and future, can he change any of this and bring back his family or are they lost forever.
It's hard to believe that this read was only 57 pages, it packed as much character development, emotion and storytelling in as something 3 times as long. Peter was a fairly complex character, at times sympathetic but as his past indifference to his family is revealed you hate his selfishness and ego. This doesn't stop you feeling his pain as he becomes more distraught at his family's plight and I felt genuinely sad at what he had lost during his life.
The story was very clever and kept me guessing up to the last few pages, because I felt so much for Peter I really hoped that all would turn out well but I'm glad that the author didn't take the easy way out for the ending, as heart breaking as it was.
I've very surprised how much this read got to me, I really didn't expect it to be so emotional and to connect with it as I did. This is a new author for me and I'm really glad I got to sample his work.