Troubling disappearances and violent murders rock a small town in this horror novel.
Oneka Falls is a sleepy little town that happens to be ground zero for supernatural activity. When 11-year-old Toby Burton disappears, his friend Benny Cartwright is the first to notice and start looking. Benny is nearly lured into the same dilapidated home into which Toby disappeared, tempted by a creepy old man (a demon) who can hear his thoughts. Soon, Oneka Falls comes under attack from the demon Herlequin and a sharpshooting killer who is egged on by the fiend’s beautiful and seductive offspring. Toby doesn’t return, and Benny can’t shake Herlequin from his mind as his family flees for safety. The horrors of the past don’t fade away but morph into a troubled present. Vick’s narrative jumps between 1979 and 2007, with the formerly quiet and safe Oneka Falls now a town full of demons with an ineffective police force and a shady town manager. Professor and forensic pathologist Drew Reid finds himself drawn to the town and the opportunity to indulge his demon-hunting side job. And though Drew has no memory of his past, Oneka Falls feels incredibly familiar. Local law enforcement grapples to get a handle on the dark happenings in and around town in the present, and those who were children in 1979 are reunited in their efforts to destroy the demon king and his followers. Vick’s (Errant Gods, 2017, etc.) supernatural horror story is evocative of Stephen King’s work in its use of a small-town setting and a gang of friends facing a powerful evil. The narrative’s chronological leaps are an effective method in building tension in both the past and present. The author doesn’t pull any punches when describing the violent results of a demonic encounter, and the rape and murder of a police officer’s family is particularly horrific. The weak link is Shannon Bertram, a victim in 1979 and a main player in 2007. Her character’s development is rushed, and her unexpected romance with Benny feels unconvincing and forced.
A supernatural thriller with several surprising and satisfying twists.