Top critical review
2.0 out of 5 starsSome good ideas...but very slow...2.5 stars.
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 30, 2012
I thought the ideas in this book were pretty good. You have a little zombie type action, some ghost elements, some pretty sinister villains with some twisted motivations, all wrapped up in a depression era novel with quasi fountain of youth element thrown in for good measure.
The problem was, I found the pacing to be very slow and the book seemed to be overly verbose and some of the characters just seemed to be throwaways.
A drifter named Cooper wanders into the town of Coal Hollow. As with most small towns, people are pretty wary of him at first. When two boys go missing, one eventually found dead, the finger points to him for a time. While searching for the young boys, Cooper will become a greater part of the community. Unfortunately, he doesn't know that the community has a dark secret right under its feet (the Underground) and, with the revelation of its secrets, Cooper has to come to terms with some of his own.
As I said, a pretty good premise but there seems to be an abundance of characters thrown in the beginning of the story that have little or nothing to do with the plot. Some of those characters know about the deep dark secret of the Underground while others don't. There's never an explanation for who knows what and for what reasons. Also, the nature of The Underground is never really explained. It's just kind of 'there'.
As I said, the book is a little on the long side. Sometimes it gets bogged down in description. This happens in the middle of dialogue sometimes and it takes away from the flow and interaction between characters.
I will say that there are some well described gory/horror moments in the book. Krisch is a very good descriptive writer and it shows in his horror scenes. Will you lose sleep over what you read here? I don't think so. I've yet to read a book that has actually 'scared' me but some of the imagery is satisfyingly disturbing.
One of the high points is the end of the book. The epilogue was done very well.
In the end, I think the book falls into the 'okay' category. This is by no means a knock at the author (I know how negative reviews can be interpreted as 'beating up on the author'). Those aren't my intentions.
I've seen how many 4 and 5 star reviews this book's gotten (not to mention praise for the author by Scott Nicholson, one of my favorites) but I guess this goes to show that you just can't please everyone. Maybe one of his other books would be more to my liking. In any event, this one didn't really strike a chord with me.