Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Book Review - The Red Church

The Red Church by Scott Nicholson

The Red Church

Review by Jacqui Slaney

Since buying a Kindle, I have started reading different authors that I had previously skipped past when looking for new books. Many of these books are quite reasonable in price, so I do not mind taking a risk in them.

I had seen quite a few Scott Nicholson books and this one sounded interesting.  I am sure that most people with remember a deserted building from their childhood,  there used to be an old house when I was growing up that all the kids told stories about, so the Red Church used in this story does strike a chord with the reader, except this one is much creepier than anything I remember.

This is the description:

 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 will not 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.

This is a good horror story of good and evil, it tells of faith and the beliefs that people have. The story is set in a small American town, where nothing ever happened and is told from the point of views of various characters. I know this can be confusing, but in this case, the technique does work and heightens the tension as you see the scene from the different people involved.

The characterisations are excellent. You have Ronnie Day, the 13 year old hero of the story, who as any child would, avoids looking at the church, talking about it etc knowing that if he does the monster will get him. I really liked Robbie, you sympathise with him and his typical teenage problems with his would be girlfriend. You have the Sheriff, who while still blaming him self for his brothers death years ago, finds himself dealing with a flurry of townsfolk being murdered in gruesome ways and then starts seeing his brothers ghost. You have the female detective determined to find the murderer herself.

You have Robbie’s parents, His mother who is a staunch follower of the Red Church and wants to take her children there and his father who wants nothing to do with it and so is determined to save his sons.

Then there is the Reverend Mc Fall and his mother both of whom are excellent, with Mc Fall being one of the most sinister characters you will come across.

The plot is well written, there is no slow build up as you start with a murder right at the start. It is more than just normal horror though as the story is clever and makes you guessing with the twists and turns of the plot. It is not a particularly long story and though it was a good ending, I found I felt a little let down by it as it seemed a bit too abrupt.
I would still recommend this book though to anyone and will definitely be reading more of this authors work

8 out of 10