Reviews of dark fiction (Under Construction)

Devil’s Creek by Todd Keisling

If there were travel guides for places NOT to visit, the town of Stauford, Kentucky would top that list! Devil’s Creek is about 15 miles away from Stauford, but that’s not far enough to keep the town safe.

Devil’s Creek was the site of a religious cult back in the early 80’s, a site which burned to the ground in 1983. Those that survived suffer nightmares all the time, even though they’ve blocked a lot of their actual memories. The head of the cult, Jacob Masters, was a charismatic man who persuaded members of his “church” to give up their children to him, for whatever dark acts he wished to perform. One of them rebelled though, (Imogene), and was able to save six of the children. Unfortunately, Imogene has now passed on and her grandson has to return to the town he hates to settle her affairs. But something else has started happening since his return. The nightmares suffered by the survivors get even more vivid and scary, and soon after? They’re facing something even worse: something that wants to make up for lost time and all it’s asking for? Is their suffering. Will these survivors be able to get to the bottom of things before it’s too late? Will the town of Stauford even survive? You’ll have to read this to find out!

I’m struggling to keep this review short, because DEVIL’S CREEK was so epic. Packed with scenes from both the past and the present, there was a lot going on. The author took his time introducing the characters and giving each a thorough history. Which, of course, made it that much more difficult to take when these characters were then put through the wringer and tortured in ways you never thought possible.

Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes. I couldn’t help but be thinking of Salem’s Lot, or even Needful Things, where the author did the same kind of storytelling: introducing us to a town full of characters and then subjecting them to all kinds of terrors, both human and supernatural.

The level of writing here was excellent and the plotting well done. Any seasoned horror reader is familiar with these types of tropes, (evil in a small town, Satanic cults, etc…), so it’s up to the author to pull something original and enticing out them. Keisling did that here, in spades!

The only issue I had with this book, (and it’s a small one), was that it became a little repetitious in some places as events were sometimes told from different points of view. As I said, it was a small thing, but for that, I deducted half a star.

DEVIL’S CREEK is going to have a special spot in my memory, along with the corrupted town of Stauford. Give us that old-time religion, baby. Yes, sir!

Highly recommended!

Available June 16th, but you can pre-order here: DEVIL’S CREEK

*Thanks to the author and to Silver Shamrock publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it! Please note, I liked the book so much, I ordered a signed copy from the author himself because I NEEDED it for my shelves.*

**Originally published June,2020 on my old site.**

Devil's Creek Book Cover Devil's Creek
Todd Keisling
Horror, Dark Fiction
Silver Shamrock
6.15.2020
Paperback
404
https://amzn.to/39XU5qV

About fifteen miles west of Stauford, Kentucky lies Devil’s Creek. According to local legend, there used to be a church out there, home to the Lord’s Church of Holy Voices—a death cult where Jacob Masters preached the gospel of a nameless god.

And like most legends, there’s truth buried among the roots and bones.

In 1983, the church burned to the ground following a mass suicide. Among the survivors were Jacob’s six children and their grandparents, who banded together to defy their former minister. Dubbed the “Stauford Six,” these children grew up amid scrutiny and ridicule, but their infamy has faded over the last thirty years.

Now their ordeal is all but forgotten, and Jacob Masters is nothing more than a scary story told around campfires.

For Jack Tremly, one of the Six, memories of that fateful night have fueled a successful art career—and a lifetime of nightmares. When his grandmother Imogene dies, Jack returns to Stauford to settle her estate. What he finds waiting for him are secrets Imogene kept in his youth, secrets about his father and the church. Secrets that can no longer stay buried.

The roots of Jacob’s buried god run deep, and within the heart of Devil’s Creek, something is beginning to stir…

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