Every parents worst nightmare comes true, in this horror novel by Cheryl Kaye Tardif. Children of the Fog will scare the pants off you, in more ways than one. It’s a mix of a ghost story, psychological thriller, and a suspense novel. All of my favorite things in one book. When Sadie’s six year old, mute, son Sam is kidnapped right in front of her eyes, she must live with the burden of knowing that she has seen his kidnappers face-and can’t tell anyone about it, lest she wants her son to die. On top of that, she’s an alcoholic who just might spiral out of control. Just when you think you have everything figured out as far as the plot goes, Tardif pulls the rug right out from under you. While I was about half way through the book, I thought I had it all right in my head, and I knew what was going on, but then another plot twist was thrown at me, and I had to read on to see what was going to happen next.
“The Fog” has been taking children near Edmonton, Canada for years, but no one has been able to catch him. He takes one boy and one girl a year, and this time, Sadie’s son is taken from his bedroom, right in front of her eyes. The kidnapper tells her that if she dares breathe his name, or tell the cops she saw him, then he will kill Sam. “The Fog” says “What I want is to see nothing in the papers, no description, no nothing. I want you to go back to bed and pretend you never seen me.” Sadie hides this information from the police, and from her husband, but when her husband finds a drawing of the kidnapper, Sam’s life is put in danger. Sadie’s husband goes to the police, and true to his word, “The Fog” sends her son back to her, little by little.
The secret that gets out, plus the spiral into drinking again, takes Sadie over the edge. She heads to the woods in hopes of finding something to cling to, but it ends up being an even worse idea. When Sadie finds out that not only was her husband lying to her, but so was her best friend, she is close to ending it all for good. The thought of suicide is so sweet to Sadie, as she has hit rock bottom, once and for all. Her husband has been cheating on her, as well as getting in trouble legally, plus her best friend hiding one of the biggest secrets of her life, it’s just too much for Sadie to handle. All she wants is to see Sam again, and to have all of this be a sick and terrible nightmare.
Every time you turn around, it seems that something else is unraveling in this book. At times, I found my self glued to the story, unable to pull away. That’s when you know that you are reading a good book. When you have to physically tell yourself to put it down so you can get something else done! Not only was this fast paced, but the characters really stick with you. Each character has their own personality, and really makes you either want to fight for them, or slap them across the face.
It’s been a while since I read a book that had me simultaneously mad at the main character, but also rooting for them. Tardif did a great job at creating a person who was real, and someone who had flaws. Sadie is every mother, and would do anything for her child. I could sit here and say bad things about her, but if I were in her position, I don’t know what I would do.
Any parent who reads this book will feel the fear and guilt that Sadie goes through, through out the novel, she is at the lowest of lows, and at times it was scary to read how bad she got. This book was really interesting, though, and the plot just kept getting deeper and deeper. It’s interesting to me that once I thought the plot was going to go in one direction, and I had it all figured out, the author flipped it around and had me thinking something completely different. This was the first book that I have read by Cheryl Tardif, but it won’t be the last. I enjoyed every second of this book, and finding out the twists along the way was really fun. I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, it was well written, entertaining, and scary all in the right spots.