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Peter has recently graduated from high school; his father is dead, his mother is sick and he needs to earn money to pay for her medication. They live in 'Lihem, a small town in Iowa, a mostly farming community, population only around 1300, so everyone knows and looks out for each other. It's policed by two brothers, Sheriff Reed and the ever sweet eating deputy, Robert. There is little crime beyond drunks and occasional fights, but they offer Peter a part time job filing and manning the telephone which.he happily accepts.Peter is well liked in the town and is enamoured of Linda, a 17 year old girl who works in the pharmacy.
Then into the town comes a stranger with a bright smile, apparently attractive to the ladies but who creeps Peter out, and another, darker presence arrives on the same day
Soon the police force has added two new deputies and, with the annual three day festival approaching, ten more temporary deputies are sworn in. Fear and violence has arrived in the quiet town.
This is the story of a year in the life of this town, the inhabitants and the changes and violence brought in from outside. Essentially three interconnected books, the reader becomes very familiar with a number of the town characters - and real characters they are, too, from the young couple Peter and Linda, the two law enforcement brothers, the deputy who pretends to be deaf so he can hear what people talk about behind his back, the woman who had previously disposed of her abusive busband, to the pharmacist who talks in rhyming couplets as he watches his world go by. And then there are the incomers, strange people, all of them, and often arriving with I'll intent and bringing death and fear to Lehem. The whole book is a constant mixing of real life familiarity with the surreal descending upon it.
The narration by J.Scott Benett is, as always, superb. His very easy to listen to mellow and gently accented reading is perfectly paced as he walks the reader through the small community, introducing the characters and their foibles, and he has a whole repertoire of voices to give individual life to each one. He is able to convey the moods of the town inhabitants without resorting to raised volume and, when violence comes to the town, the fear and confrontation with evil doers is palpable. A superb performance.
This is a strange story. A book in three distinct parts which meld into each other. But the town goes on, almost an entity in itself. A mix of real life and the totally improbable. This is a story which will stay in my head for a long time. Recommended for readers who enjoy their books character led but with a thrill in the tail.
I must admit up front, I am a big horror fan, and the summary of the book sounded pretty interesting, but I did have a bit of a pause given the title of the book. I was a bit worried that it might just be over the top highly graphic that the title might indicate. If you were likewise concerned, it isn't. It is definitely a bit gruesome, but not what I'd classify in any way gratuitous. I got this as a free review copy from audiobookblast. I'm always looking out for new books in genres I like by new authors, ones that I might not necessarily be willing to try blind, so like to get the opportunity to check out new talent.
The book was structured in three parts, presented as a book, but each are a good sequential part of the story, each with a different theme. Book one was concerned with a murderous drug addicted killer wreaking havoc. Book two was centered on a lot of the same characters, plus the family of the killer. I was initially concerned that it was going down as a straight plain anti-authorities revenge story (which I admit really annoys me) but it wasn't. It was actually a bit of an unexpected twist. Book 3 was probably the third best tale of the bunch, but I did like and appreciate how the law took charge in a satisfying way. It was odd that the book was specifically set in 1979. It definitely fit, but the story to me felt pretty timeless, and wasn't relying on story elements that would be restricted to any time period (eg it wasn't like there were situations where it wouldn't work modern days as everyone has cell phones, and internet to look up stuff). But that said, the story itself being written that way is quite neat. It wasn't that the author was deliberately trying to do something making a statement about a particular time period.
I loved the narration too. The characterization of a lot of the old timers, both male and female were so well done, and often put a smile on my face.
6 of 6 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
“Part” takes place in the same town with the same characters, with a few new additions and subtractions along the way. I found I was able to finish Part One and begrudgingly put it aside.. Each “Part” pushes the reader forward, so watch out. You won’t want to put it down after you finish Part Two. You’ll plow through Part Three and be left stunned at the end.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful