Book Review: ‘The Thicket’ highlights ‘horrors’ of corporate greed

Horror emphasizes societal imperfections, lacks in thrill



“The Thicket” is a great read if you are looking for societal commentary, but not as great if you are hoping to be really scared.

JUSTIN WASHINGTON, Evergreen research editor

“The Thicket” by Noelle W. Ihli is a book I found on Amazon. Because virtually anything can be published on the platform, most books there are a hit-or-miss.

Set in rural Idaho, the Halloween attraction called the Thicket is a place where haunted trails and mazes attract teenagers from the entire Northwest. It is even known as one of the top attractions in the U.S.

However, one night, two people are murdered at the Thicket. The first victim is Brandon, the little brother of the main antagonist, Norah. The second victim is a teenager who works at the attraction.

Fear, protest and anger erupt in town as parents push to have the attraction closed for good. But as expected in a horror plot, the managers decide to keep the place open! 

(Somehow, the authorities are okay with this decision.)

Most of the book follows three teenage girls — Maren, Jamie and Taylor — all of whom are former friends of Norah and decide to go to the Thicket (because who cares that two people were murdered, right).

However, one of the things this book does well with is highlighting corporate greed. 

Being one of Idaho’s biggest tourist destinations, the Thicket generates a lot of revenue. While it would be morally sound to close the attraction at least for the rest of the year, the managers favor economic benefit by keeping it open and adding higher security measures to satisfy the masses.

This concept of wanting money over safety is a very prominent idea in American society. Throughout the start of the pandemic, many complained that the U.S. opted for a “business as usual approach” instead of locking down to prevent the virus from spiraling out of control, all because we did not want to suffer the economical consequences.

I like that this was one of the main focuses of the novel because it is all too real. Some of you might remember last year when former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos posted about the Blue Origin space launch without mentioning the death of six warehouse workers.

It goes to show how corporations and the people who run them care about money more than life. “The Thicket” is no exception to this.

However, this novel also has a couple of issues with it, the first being the killer has no motive for his actions whatsoever. 

There was a huge potential to get a motive. Perhaps the murderer was wronged by the managers, perhaps one of his family members died, and the company did nothing about the situation. The ingredients for a revenge story were all there!

But, the author instead made him a typical bloodthirsty psychopath with no interesting backstory or personality. It really is a shame.

However, the book does have a way of redeeming itself. The last couple of scenes in the book get very gruesome, and there is a twist ending that I honestly did not see coming. 

If you are able to get through the fact that the book has a very slow start and often has trouble grabbing your attention, you do eventually get rewarded for your patience. 

Overall, if you want a book that will entertain your weekend, “The Thicket” is a great option. But if you are looking to be genuinely disturbed or frightened, this horror novel will not offer much.