It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.
Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.
Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . Between truth and lies.
Billy Coffey‘s critically-acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
Billy Coffey’s latest novel, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, is the first book I have read by this very talented author. His lyrical writing style, great sense of place and characters that are deeply flawed and yet s0 real, are the reasons I will be reading many more of his books. Deeply moving, oftentimes horrifying and always riveting, The Devil Walks in Mattingly is a must read.
Jake Barnett, the sheriff of Mattingly, and his wife Kate, live a quiet life trying to undo the past and escape their demons. Their misdeeds and omissions have shaped a life that keeps them stuck repeating old patterns. But when the unthinkable happens, and the town is plunged into their nightmares and deepest secrets, they can no longer deny that the past must be confronted and dealt with. Others are drawn into the horror with varying responses, but none are left unchanged.
The biggest strength of The Devil Walks in Mattingly is definitely Coffey’s ability to put the reader into the story. The town of Mattingly and the haunted Happy Hollow become very real. The characters, both good and bad, could be your neighbors or friends. It may be a bit disturbing to your sense of self to relate too closely to them ;), but I could definitely relate to the stranglehold the past has on the characters. Great for a book club, there is plenty to discuss — can our present actions make up for our past wrongs, is avoidance a helpful coping skill, where do we find love?
Not a quick and easy read — that is a big plus with me — The Devil Walks in Mattingly is a book that will stay with you for a long time. It gets the very rare designation of —
Very Highly Recommended.
Great for Book Clubs.
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(Thanks to LitFuse and Thomas Nelson for my review copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
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