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The Cottage


The Cottage

Nights are scary times for Kate Burke. It hasn’t always been this way. No, with Leif, Kate felt safe. Leif was not just the love of her life; he was a strong and courageous man. A cop. He made her feel secure. But that feeling was shattered two years ago when a home invasion ended in his death. Back then, they had cherished their family and their peace. Then their serenity was tainted with a rash of minor vandalism and harassment. Leif laid it off to teenagers getting back at the local cop for doing his job. However, it was much more serious. These intervening two years haven’t been easy. And for Kate, times are about to get rough again.

She awakens one night to a sound. The motion-activated light in the backyard has come on, too. She sees movement outside her window. A deer? It looks more like two figures. Boys. Before she can make out more detail, they disappear into the shadows. Then the chirp of her phone startles her. Please, not another prank call. With frayed nerves, Kate timidly answers. She hears the voice of her sister, Rebecca, on the other end of the line. Rather than being relieved, Kate is almost as upset as she would have been had it been a prank caller. Becca wants to come and stay in the cottage for the summer, but Kate coldly turns down her request. She can’t forgive her for what she did.

"Daniel Judson creates a terrifying scenario here in which a young mother recovering from the loss of her husband is beset by psychological terror attacks in her own home."

Over the next few days, incidents around the property escalate, along with creepy phone calls. Leif’s friends from the department, his father, Leo --- the one-time chief of police --- and close neighbors Maria and Derek all rally around to help. Yet, Kate still fears for herself and her children. She finds a renter for the cottage, hoping that will further intimidate whoever is harassing her. Still, more needs to be done. Finally, Kate relents and, against her best judgment, invites Becca back. She decides to give her sister another chance and hope she truly has changed.

Meanwhile, the cops work overtime to find out who is threatening Kate and why. Is it a spurned student? Someone she slighted and didn’t realize it? Could it be related to Leif’s murder? Without having any clue to the motive, Kate is left floundering in the dark. Then her stalker ratchets up the fear factor. He follows her to the store. He sends her sick notes. He calls at all hours. He’s watching her. What does he want?

Does she really want to know? Yes. Once Kate understands the reason behind everything that happened, she still has trouble accepting the answer. It’s all so senseless. People didn’t have to die. Kate was never going anywhere. She never meant to hurt anyone. The best part, though, is that Kate and Becca have had a chance to talk things out, make amends and try to move on. But the cost of getting there was high.

Daniel Judson creates a terrifying scenario here in which a young mother recovering from the loss of her husband is beset by psychological terror attacks in her own home. With so much to handle already, she will have to find strength from deep within herself in order to keep her family safe. Fortunately, she has resources and a lot of help, but her tormentor knows how to stay one step away from crossing into criminal territory. You will want to read THE COTTAGE with all the lights on.

Reviewed by Kate Ayers on November 24, 2021

The Cottage
by Daniel Judson

  • Publication Date: November 2, 2021
  • Genres: Fiction, Suspense, Thriller
  • Paperback: 443 pages
  • Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
  • ISBN-10: 1542010012
  • ISBN-13: 9781542010016