Monday, October 3, 2011
Shadow Valley by Michael R. Collings
This is a very creepy horror novel by an esteemed and accomplished writer. The prose is smooth and interesting and builds to become quite intense at the end. The main character is Lila Ellis, a young woman who is trying to find out if anyone lives in an old house in a rural valley that is about to be flooded by a new dam project that will create a reservoir.
The book is short and easy to read, but it takes a while to really get going. The pace picks up when Lila gets into the house and discovers a chilling journal that spells out some of the sordid and complex history of the Stevenson family. Lila uncovers the secret past of the place and finds out about the curse that has taken so many people, especially young women who end up living there alone.
Right when Lila enters you know she’s made a huge mistake, but the twists are still quite interesting. The first thing she discovers is seventy boxes of chocolate with only one missing from each box. This was where it really started to get creepy and who knew that the smell of chocolate could be so scary? Collings excels at description and knows how to build an atmosphere of dread.
Overall, this is an interesting story, but some readers will find it a little slow. If you’re a fan of Stephen King, haunted house books, and family curses, this is definitely a book you'll enjoy.
Editor of The Crimson Pact