Marjay's Reading Blog

The House Beyond the Dunes by Mary Burton

Montlake Pub

Sept 5th, 2023

The House Beyond the Dunes by Mary Burton is a psychological thriller.  It delves into how two women disappeared, with another woman having buried memories.

“In the book the setting plays an important part.  There is a portion of the beach described that can be accessed by a four-wheel drive. It is like a different world. It is isolated with bad weather in the winter, reminding me of a lock room mystery. The plot went from there. The Outer Banks setting is real, and I live very close to the area.  There is a wild horse sanctuary.”  

One of the women characters is Lane McCord who wakes up in a hospital after surviving a near fatal fall at a North Carolina beach cottage.  Unfortunately, her boyfriend, Kyle, who also fell, succumbed to his injuries.  Lane cannot remember anything except Kyle lying underneath her at the bottom of the stairs with his head pooling blood. 

“The killer hides in plain sight. They are super creepy, especially when they look and act normal, but they are not.  The killer was organized, calm, cool, and a hunter.” 

Lane is confused and grieving, wants to find answers, and collect her personal belongings, so she returns to the cottage.  But a winter rainstorm leaves her stranded there.  A concerned neighbor who was a friend of Kyle’s tells her he overheard a violent argument before the fall.  The story is told through Lane, and the women who disappeared, Nikki, and Stevie’s eyes. 

Each woman has some similar traits. “Nikki is just a lost soul.  Stevie looks out for lost souls.  She feels that is her calling on this planet. This is why Stevie saves Nikki in the beginning when she sees her trapped in the car with a bad guy. Stevie is not afraid to defend the defenseless and comes to people’s aid.  Lane is like Stevie who wants to help people, which is why she has formed a support group. Lane does a lot of what Stevie does but tackles it from a different angle. They both want to make the world a little bit better. She does try to go along to get along.”

Every character introduced will have the readers wondering who is the bad guy which magnifies part of the mystery.  Readers will be put on the edge of their seats. As with most of her books it is a story of good versus bad where readers wonder what the motivations of the characters are.