Monday, March 8, 2010

Dollar Bin Horror Spotlight - The Red Church (Book Review)

For 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won't stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her. Sheriff Frank Littlefield hates the red church for a different reason. His little brother died in a freak accident at the church twenty years ago, and now Frank is starting to see his brother's ghost. And the ghost keeps demanding, "Free me." People are dying in Whispering Pines, and the murders coincide with McFall's return. The Days, the Littlefields, and the McFalls are descendants of the original families that settled the rural Appalachian community. Those old families share a secret of betrayal and guilt, and McFall wants his congregation to prove its faith. Because he believes he is the Second Son of God, and that the cleansing of sin must be done in blood. "Sacrifice is the currency of God," McFall preaches, and unless Frank and Ronnie stop him, everybody pays.

Being his first novel, this book was a very enjoyable read. It created a chilling atmosphere that I found quite scary as I was reading it. The book reminds me a little of Peter Straub's Ghost Story in the sense of the feel the book gives the reader. That is not to say the book is without flaws. For me, it spent to much time over-describing past events, inhabitants of the area, and the debating of Christian beliefs. Yes, the book needs all these things, but It felt like it was dwelling on these subjects far too long than necessary. Of course, this is a first novel, and a few flaws are to be expected. That said, this book is a frightening story which is an enjoyable light read for horror fans. The the communion scene in the book is one that will stick with me, thats for sure. It has a lot of emotional scenes as well that will keep you hooked into the book till the end. The main thing this book accomplished for me is that I can't wait to see what Scott Nicholson will write next. Even with the flaws, this book is an enjoyable, easy read and will make for a great night in with a good book.
You can learn more about Scott and his works at


William Malmborg said...

Great review. I remember reading this book several years ago during the summer and really enjoying it.

Professor Bleak said...

I liked this one, but haven't cared much for any of Nicholson's later works.