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The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes: FAQs + Books Like It

Updated: Aug 14, 2023

I rarely DNF (do not finish) a book but I'll be honest, I came dangerously close to doing exactly that with The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes. 100 pages in and I was over it. (Kindle | Kobo | Paperback)


Instead of giving it up though, I flipped straight to the ending. My hope was that if I got a glimpse at how it ended, I could push through. That didn't exactly happen as I just ended up reading the book backward from Chapter 38. Weird, but it did the trick. I got the answers I wanted and was able to hightail it past all the unnecessary details.


If frustration or boredom has brought you here for The House in the Pines spoilers, then you'll be happy to know the ending is explained below. Also, if you found the premise of the book interesting enough but the execution left something to be desired, then you're going to want to look into the list of five books like The House in the Pines at the end, which in my opinion, are going to be far more satisfying psychological thrillers. (Warning: This article contains spoilers)


What is the Book The House in the Pines About?

When Maya Edwards was 17, she saw her best friend, Audrey, drop dead right in front of her. Despite an autopsy and investigation, Audrey's cause of death could not be explained. Yet, Maya firmly believed that Frank Bellamy was responsible for it, as he was there at the time of Audrey's death. Without any proof though, Maya was forced to carry on. 8 years later, at the age of 25, she comes across a video online of a girl dropping dead in the middle of a diner. At the time it happens, she's in the company of none other than Frank Bellamy. Despite her best efforts to put the video behind her, Maya can't and so she returns to her hometown to uncover the truth of the two young women's mysterious deaths.


Is The House in the Pines Based on a True Story?

No - The House in the Pines is not based on a true story. However, it is based on the thesis Ana Reyes wrote for her M.F.A. program at Louisiana State University in 2015. Also, a few elements of the book are based on the author's real life. For one, she and the main character, Maya, are both half-Guatemalan and have both experienced Klonopin withdrawal.


Where Does The House in the Pines Take Place?

The House in the Pines takes place in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Ana Reyes explained this choice in an interview with The Berkshire Eagle: "My mom is originally from Pittsfield and her father lived and was born there. My uncle also did a lot of reporting about GE, so I remember hearing a lot about that growing up. Initially, when I first started writing the book, it was set in Amherst because that's where I ended up going to middle school and high school. But as I was writing it I just kind of felt myself being drawn back to Pittsfield because I feel like there's something very poignant about it."


How Long Does It Take to Read The House in the Pines?

According to How Long to Read, it will take the average reader 4 hours and 26 minutes to read The House in the Pines.


Who Dies in The House in the Pines? Who Is the Killer?

Three people die in The House in the Pines, including Audrey West, Cristina Lewis, and Oren Bellamy. All of them are murdered by Frank Bellamy.


How Does The House in the Pines End?

In the end, after turning on and hiding her voice recorder, Maya confronts Frank Bellamy. During their conversation, Frank hypnotizes Maya and admits he learned and mastered his father, Oden's, hypnosis technique. Maya says, "You killed them," to which Frank replies, "It was either him or me." With that, we know Frank killed his father. Then Maya asks about Audrey and Frank replies, "You think I wanted to kill her? I didn't. But she figured it out." So, Frank killed Audrey for knowing the truth. Finally, when asked if he killed Cristina, Frank says, "I only gave her what she wanted. It was her idea to die on camera."


Before Frank can do anything to Maya, Maya's mother enters the bar and rescues her. They then go to the police with the recording and Frank's confession that Cristina wanted to die on camera, is enough for them to deem him suspicious.


Maya and Dan reunite and Dan helps Maya dig up more information about Oden Bellamy's hypnotherapy. They find out that a patient of Dr. Bellamy died of a stroke during a hypnotherapy session. There's a chance this is what caused Audrey and Cristina's death as well, though, it is never confirmed in the book. They also uncover that Clear Horizon Wellness Center was fake and Dr. David Hart was actually Frank Bellamy. After sending that information to the police, Maya is assured that Frank "should be apprehended any day now."


5 Books Like The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes

At its heart, The House in the Pines is about a young girl who loses someone close to her and is haunted by it until she finally uncovers the truth about what happened. Even if you weren't a fan of how this played out in this book, if the idea is intriguing to you, then the good news is that there are plenty of other psychological thrillers like it. In fact, here are my top five recommendations for books like The House in the Pines by Ana Reyes.


What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

1. What Lies in the Woods by Kate Alice Marshall

I read Kate Alice Marshall's thriller, What Lies in the Woods, just a few weeks before The House in the Pines. It was the book I was comparing Ana Reyes' book against in the back of my mind. Like The House in the Pines, this book jumps between what's happening now and in the past, takes place in the woods, and is about a crime that happened years ago. Yet, I enjoyed it far more and will actually recommend this going forward. If you haven't heard of it, here's what it's about: "22 years ago, Naomi and her two friends, Cassidy and Olivia, spent the summer roaming and playing in the woods. It all ended suddenly though when Naomi was attacked. Miraculously, she survived 17 stab wounds. She and her friends then gave testimony that sent a man to jail. Only thing is, they lied. Now Olivia wants to tell and Naomi is set on finding out what really happened in the woods all those years ago."


A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

2. A Flicker in the Dark by Stacy Willingham

The major similarity between The House in the Pines and A Flicker in the Dark is that the narrators in both books are unreliable and have crimes committed years ago and now. I was hooked on this book from basically page one, so unlike The House in the Pines, I highly recommend this one. Here's a brief description for those interested: "When Chloe Davis was 12, six teenage girls from her small town went missing. By the end of the summer, Chloe’s father had been arrested as a serial killer. Now 20 years later, Chloe is a psychologist and feels like she has a fragile grasp on happiness. Of course, that's when a local teenage girl goes missing, and then another. Before she knows it, that summer comes crashing back. Is she paranoid, and seeing parallels that aren't really there, or for the second time in her life, is she about to unmask a killer?"


All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

3. All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda

Not only is Megan Miranda's psychological thriller, All the Missing Girls, about a young girl who loses her best friends and returns to learn to her hometown years later to uncover the truth but it's also a sort of dual timeline. Here's what it's about: "It’s been ten years since Nicolette Farrell left her rural hometown after her best friend, Corinne, disappeared without a trace. Back again to tie up loose ends and care for her father, Nic is soon plunged into a shocking drama that reawakens Corinne’s case and breaks open old wounds long since stitched. Then, within days of Nic’s return, another girl, Annaleise, goes missing. Told backward from the time Annaleise goes missing, Nic works to unravel the truth about her younger neighbor’s disappearance and as she does she reveals shocking truths about her friends, family, and what really happened to Corinne that night ten years ago."


Final Girls by Riley Sager

4. Final Girls by Riley Sager

Like The House in the Pines, Riley Sager's book, Final Girls, is the story of a young girl who is forced to move on after the tragic death of her friend(s) and what happens when she's dragged back in. Here's a description for you: "Ten years ago, college student Quincy Carpenter went on vacation with five friends and came back alone, the only survivor of a horror movie–scale massacre. In an instant, she became a member of a club no one wants to belong to—a group of similar survivors known in the press as the Final Girls. Now, Quincy is doing well—maybe even great, thanks to her Xanax prescription. That is, until Lisa, the first Final Girl, is found dead in her bathtub, and Sam, the second, appears on Quincy's doorstep intent on making Quincy relive the past, despite the increasingly dire consequences."


The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

5. The Quarry Girls by Jess Lourey

Jess Lourey's thriller book, The Quarry Girls, is another recent read for me. So, inevitably, I saw similarities between it and The House in the Pines. I'll let you read the description because I think it clearly shows that: "In 1977, in a close-knit small-town in Minnesota, Heather and Brenda have a secret. They saw something in the dark and they promised each other never to tell a soul. That is, until their friend disappears - the second girl to vanish in a week. Since the authorities seem reluctant to investigate, Heather begins searching for answers on her own, only to find out that no one in her community is who they seem to be. But she can’t stop digging because she knows those girls are in danger. She also knows she’s next."

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