The Camp

Part of the River Glen Series – Book 4

The perfect summer suspense thriller, evoking 1980s horror movies set at sleepaway camps but with a fresh twist, from the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Babysitter and The Neighbors.

There are always stories told around the fire at summer camp—tall tales about gruesome murders and unhinged killers, concocted to scare new arrivals and lend an extra jolt of excitement to those hormone-charged nights. At Camp Luft-Shawk, nicknamed Camp Love Shack, there are stories about a creeping fog that brings death with it. But here, they’re not just campfire tales. Here, the stories are real.

Twenty years ago, a girl’s body was found on a ledge above the lake, arms crossed over her heart. Some said it was part of a suicide pact, connected to the nearby Haven Commune. Brooke, Rona, and Wendy were among the teenagers at camp that summer, looking for fun and sun, sex and adventure. They’ve never breathed a word about what really happened—or about the night their friendship shattered.

Now the camp, renamed Camp Fog Lake, has reopened for a new generation, and many of those who were there on that long-ago night are returning for an alumni weekend. But something is stirring at the lake again. As the fog rolls in, evil comes with it. Those stories were a warning, and they didn’t listen. And the only question is, who will live long enough to regret it?

Publish Date

June 2023



She didn’t believe them . . .didn’t believe him. He’d told her a lot of things she didn’t understand. She loved him. She truly loved him. But not in the way he maybe wanted. She couldn’t tell, and though she’d tried to explain her feelings, she knew she hadn’t been heard.

She hurried along the trail until she came to the ledge above the lake. The fog was below her. It had crept in like it always did, sliding over the deep green depths of the water, a downy gray blanket beneath a darkening sky that tonight felt as evil as some had described it.

She wasn’t sick. She didn’t need medical help. She didn’t need her soul saved.

She’d made a mistake coming here. She just needed to get away.

The camp’s outdoor lights were still on and visible from where she stood; tiny, yellow stars of illumination. But as she watched, the fog reached to the shore and flowed stealthily over the ground and then upward, long gray fingers obscuring the last glowing pinpoints until the camp went completely dark.

She squatted down on the ledge, feeling she should make herself smaller, just in case someone was looking for her.

She glanced north, in the opposite direction of the camp, and shivered. The fog was coming from that direction and working its way up the side of the cliff. Soon it would reach her if she didn’t run.

An owl gave a lonely hoot, then cut itself off as if startled.

The girl jumped to her feet and whipped around, facing the forest. Was someone coming?

Then she heard him, moving quietly but approaching her direction, appearing at the edge of the woods, a dark shape moving toward her in the gathering gloom. He was in a ski mask and carrying white flowers, she realized. She recognized him by the way he moved, but her heart started an erratic tattoo in her chest. She loved him and feared him. What was he carrying in his right hand? Queen Anne’s Lace, maybe? Plucked from the trail side? And was that a metal goblet in his other hand?


“These are for you,” he said, thrusting the flowers under her nose. She automatically sucked in a deep breath, reaching up to grab the bouquet and push it back from her face a little as he bent down and placed the goblet on the ground. She thought she recognized the goblet from somewhere but just couldn’t remember where. On a shelf, maybe. Or mantel?

She took a step forward, feeling too close to the edge of the trail behind her. She couldn’t let herself fall into the lake. It was a long, long way down and she doubt she would survive.

She could hear her heartbeat in her ears. Was he expecting her to drink something? Was that why he had the goblet? She didn’t think that would be a good idea.

“What are you doing here?”

“Looking for you, my love.” His tone was light, almost singsong.

Immediately she was on alert. “I wanted to take a walk before it got too dark.”

“You were avoiding me.”

“Why are you wearing a mask?”

“I don’t want anyone to see me.”

His honesty was one of the things she’d told herself she loved about him. He never lied to her, even when he uttered truths she didn’t really want to hear. “You don’t want them to know you’re looking for me?”

“I know you’re trying to leave. I’m here to help you on your journey.”

“What do you mean?” she asked sharply.

“Sometimes love is so cruel.”

She was feeling strangely lightheaded all of a sudden. Something was wrong. Terribly wrong. She noted then that he was also wearing rubber gloves. Were her hands stinging? Her throat tightening?

Behind the mask his eyes were clear but the fog was surrounding him, blurring the edges. “I’m not sick,” she tried to say, but her voice came from a long, long way away and she stumbled a step. And now she felt sick, but it wasn’t her soul that was at risk.


She never got to finish her thought because his hands suddenly encircled her neck, closing her windpipe. She dropped the flowers and tried to pry his fingers loose, but she couldn’t. Her head was spinning. She envisioned a spiral of fog, wrapping her up like a spider cocooning its prey in spun silk. The spiral would whip her around and around, carrying her upward before dropping her into the depths of the water.

Her fingers scrabbled desperately against the pressure of his, digging hard, but

she couldn’t release his hold. When she lost consciousness and went limp, he held her carefully and then helped her body collapse to the ground.

When she stopped breathing he released the pressure on her neck. She’d dropped the flowers. Carefully he plucked them up then tossed them over the ledge and into the fog, knowing they would drift down to the water far below.

Then he lay her on her back and folded her arms over her chest. He picked up the goblet and held it high above her before gently tipping it. A trail of ashes ran from the lip and into the fog. He leaned over her closely, making certain most of the ashes had found their way to her.

You should really burn her. Cleanse her.

But the flames might be seen, even through the fog. The scent of the fire would carry to the camp.

When he finally stood he realized he could no longer see her. The fog had done its duty. Now he needed to melt back into the forest or risk falling into the lake himself. He would wait there for a while. Better to let time pass with this gray menace surrounding him.

He glanced back to where he knew the camp was, but the fog blanketed his vision. He could barely see more than a few inches into its thick depths. Still, he imagined them all sleeping in their bunks. The young campers and the sex-starved counselors. His lips twitched.

Adrianna had been there.

Carefully, he squatted down and leaned over her, feeling his way. He let his hand travel over her face, mapping her features, and leaned in to kiss her.

Wait. Was that a breath?

He bent down and saw that her eyes were open. Black pools. Filled with terror.

She was still alive!

Gripping her neck once more he squeezed with all his strength, smashing his lips to hers at the same time. He kissed her as long as he could without taking a breath, his lungs screaming. He then gulped air and then kissed her hard again. She didn’t wriggle much. Her strength was already gone.

He stayed that way, bruising her lips with kisses, until there was no heartbeat. No chance of revival. The fog had kept moving and was now thinning, drifting away from him. He gazed at her slack features and waited, making sure she was really dead.

Finally, he rose and looked back at the camp. The lights had winked back on as the fog passed, though less now as the hour had grown later. Stealthily, he headed back down the trail, removing his mask and gloves as he descended.

He needed to not be missed.

You may also like…

  • The Gossip
    • The Gossip
  • The Babysitter
    • The Babysitter
  • The Neighbors
    • The Neighbors
  • The Sorority
    • The Sorority