Monday, September 19, 2011

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman

This is the kind of book that keeps you reading, even when you are creeped out and want to put it down.  Yep.  It's a horror novel that's disguised until it's too darn late to put it down. 

But, it's darn good writing, and a clever original story about Frank and Dora, a history professor from Chicago and his wife, who travel to the small town of Whitbrow, Georgia, to escape a scandal. Frank plans to  write a novel based on his great-grandfather,  a horribly cruel plantation owner who was murdered by his slaves after the Civil War.  

Those Across the River is atmospheric, creepy, and has that tale of innocent people getting caught up in something old and evil.  Frank and Dora soon find that something strange is in the woods across the river, and it's pretty angry when the townsfolk stop an old ritual of sending a pig out into the woods every month as a "sacrifice" to keep their town safe in troubled times.  This novel takes place during the Great Depression, and Frank's nightmares of fighting in World War I are part of the gloomy, steamy southern summer atmosphere.  I think placing this tale in a time when there was no easy way to communicate, where people still believed in old folk ways, and "don't go into the woods" still carried some weight around kids makes this story so good!

  Oh, the ending leaves you desperate to know what happens next.  But, alas, no sequel to this one.  The author leaves you to decide what comes after you've finished that last page.  A satisfying ending to a thrilling, edge of your seat story.

Thanks to Netgalley for providing a copy of this for review. 

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