What is left when a person dies? Their spirit? The obsessions they had in life? Or are the ghosts that haunt us of our own making, composed of grief and the impulse to somehow hold onto the soul that has been taken from us? Veteran horror writer Ronald Malfi tackles these questions and more in Come With Me, a stunning and heart-clenching novel that represents the best of what both the horror and thriller genres have to offer.
All marriages have their secrets. But before his wife Allison’s death in a Christmas Eve mass shooting, Aaron Decker never contemplated the depths of the secrets held in his. Afterward, the discovery of an unassuming box launches a haunting that is part grief and—perhaps—part otherworldly. Buried within that box is a slip of paper that shakes Aaron to his core: a receipt for a motel in rural North Carolina, paid for in cash, when Allison was supposedly at home alone while Aaron was gone on a business trip.
Mired in grief and tormented by what could either be his own delusional emptiness or the ghost of his dead wife, Aaron is driven to find out what exactly she was up to. His search envelops him in a decadeslong mystery that had consumed Allison prior to her death, testing his own sanity and making him question just how much he actually knew about his wife.
A striking meditation on love, grief and the drive for closure, Malfi’s latest novel is eerie and claustrophobic. Told from Aaron’s first-person perspective, Come With Me captures the unreality of bereavement, the sense that the person you’ve lost is just in the other room and that the world you’re experiencing can’t possibly be real. This feeling is compounded by the novel’s narrative structure. As Aaron begins to unravel the mystery of his wife’s obsession, Come With Me jumps back and forth between his investigation and his memories of Allison, both of which contain clues for Aaron to piece together. Malfi creates a mental landscape that is both easy to empathize with and impossible to take at face value, as the thin line between memory and reality is continually blurred.
A perfect fit for fans of Stephen King and modern true crime classics like Michelle McNamara’s I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, Come With Me both awes and terrifies from beginning to end.