Unleashed begins with a lot of promise, clean prose, steady pacing and a vivid, enticingly eerie setting — laced with small-town secrets. But then the story loses momentum, taking far too long to get to any significant reveal. It’s also difficult to care for Kat; she’s judgmental and just doesn’t grow as a protagonist. Secondary characters will pique your curiosity, though they’re never really explored, and, by the last page, the reader is left with far more questions than answers.
Katelyn McBride’s life changed in an instant when her mother died. Uprooted from her California home, Katelyn is shipped off to her grandfather’s, in the tiny village of Wolf Springs in the Ozark Mountains. Like any small town, Wolf Springs has secrets. But the secrets hidden here are more sinister than Katelyn could ever imagine — and Katelyn McBride is about to change everything. (DELACORTE, Dec., 400 pp., $18.99, HC, ISBN: 9780385740982, 12 & Up)