Publisher: Lyrical Ynderground
Pub date: September 25, 2017
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Julia Russo is running from her abusive ex-boyfriend and her path takes her into the Nilhollow. State trooper Peter Grainger is an officer that had contact with Julia and her boyfriend and has helped her out often. It appears he has taken a liking to her and when her car and the car of her boyfriend are found in the Pines Barren, he expects the worst and goes looking for her. But her homicidal boyfriend is the least of the dangers she and the trooper are about to meet.
We are given a prologue regarding two brothers that introduce us to the horrors of the Nilhollow which leads into Julia's misfortune and the subsequent search. From there on it is pretty much action. Lots of body parts are strewn around and there is a sufficient sense of awe and terror in the creatures of the Nilhollow. Yet the story never really takes off as far as the characters go . It is mainly because Julia isn't really that interesting a protagonist. She comes across as the perennial victim and when she is thrown into the supernatural, I guess we are to believe the heroine appears from within her. it just doesn't gel. Peter is still Prince Lancelot and the transforming I expect of Julia to an independent character never quite takes place.
But the novel is saved by the spirits. Her pantheistic forest spirits are quite interesting and among them is a suitably evil devil. There's a little Machen hiding in these malevolent sprites. Overall, it is a good idea with some very nice plotting but the main characters are just not interesting enough to carry it. As a quick horror read, I do recommend it. I'm just not sure how long you will remember it.