If there were travel guides for places NOT to visit, the town of Stauford, Kentucky would top that list! Devil's Creek is about 15 miles away from Stauford, but that's not far enough to keep the town safe.
Devil's Creek was the site of a religious cult back in the early 80's, a site which burned to the ground in 1983. Those that survived suffer nightmares all the time, even though they've blocked a lot of their actual memories. The head of the cult, Jacob Masters, was a charismatic man who persuaded members of his "church" to give up their children to him, for whatever dark acts he wished to perform. One of them rebelled though, (Imogene), and was able to save six of the children. Unfortunately, Imogene has now passed on and her grandson has to return to the town he hates to settle her affairs. But something else has started happening since his return. The nightmares suffered by the survivors get even more vivid and scary, and soon after? They're facing something even worse: something that wants to make up for lost time and all it's asking for? Is their suffering. Will these survivors be able to get to the bottom of things before it's too late? Will the town of Stauford even survive? You'll have to read this to find out!
I'm struggling to keep this review short, because DEVIL'S CREEK was so epic. Packed with scenes from both the past and the present, there was a lot going on. The author took his time introducing the characters and giving each a thorough history. Which, of course, made it that much more difficult to take when these characters were then put through the wringer and tortured in ways you never thought possible.
Evil in a small town is one of my favorite horror tropes. I couldn't help but be thinking of Salem's Lot, or even Needful Things, where the author did the same kind of storytelling: introducing us to a town full of characters and then subjecting them to all kinds of terrors, both human and supernatural.
The level of writing here was excellent and the plotting well done. Any seasoned horror reader is familiar with these types of tropes, (evil in a small town, Satanic cults, etc...), so it's up to the author to pull something original and enticing out them. Keisling did that here, in spades!
The only issue I had with this book, (and it's a small one), was that it became a little repetitious in some places as events were sometimes told from different points of view. As I said, it was a small thing, but for that, I deducted half a star.
DEVIL'S CREEK is going to have a special spot in my memory, along with the corrupted town of Stauford. Give us that old-time religion, baby. Yes, sir!
Available June 16th, but you can pre-order here: DEVIL'S CREEK
*Thanks to the author and to Silver Shamrock publishing for the e-ARC of this book in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it!*