This was the kind of book I was hoping to discover when giving Horror Month a shot.
It’s not the best book I’ve read this year, nor even this month. But it’s the kind of thing I was hoping to read: quality psychological horror that is beyond the mainstream.
Getting this rec from Max Read’s substack was a gift. It was a delight to pour through Tryon’s rich language as he slowly but surely developed the characters, parceling out horror bit-by-bit until the big reveals, then having the survivor(s?) live with the consequences.
This is the slowest of slow burns. Thomas Tryon takes his sweet time introducing Ned, his family, and the people of Cornwall Coombe, a quaint New England village shut off from the rest of the world by the clannish locals for reasons that…well reasons. Reasons that become clear as you read it.
It’s a book that you have to be patient with; indeed, I did find it sluggish at times. But your patience was rewarded. And it was aided by Tryon’s prose. Every time the story slowed down and I thought I’d get bored, I was able to stay engaged because of how Tryon told the story.
I think I have a thing for cult/occult horror. This was billed as an American Wicker Man, but I got more of a Firm vibe: you don’t know what’s amiss but you know something is, yet you can’t put a finger on it. It’s not as good as The Firm but its reveals still punched. Recommended if you’re willing.