Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.
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.
I was looking for a spooky read for October and I got more than I bargained for in Billy Coffey’s latest novel, The Curse of Crow Hollow. It is indeed a spooky and chill-inducing read, but it is so much more. With its Southern gothic style, its impeccable characterization and Billy’s trademark story-telling, this is a book that will do more than give you the creeps. It’s going to make you think and continue to think long after the last word is shared.
Crow Hollow, Virginia is a small town on the way out. Not many are left in the Hollow — jobs are scarce and its back-woods atmosphere is not likely to attract people or industry. It does have a close-knit community full of gossip, resentment and past sins. And there is a witch on the mountain that overlooks the town. This town is trouble just waiting to happen.
The Curse of Crow Hollow has a first person narrator who is not identified until the end of the book. He is down-home friendly and candid in his description of his fellow citizens. He describes to a visitor what has led up to the current state of the town — burned down buildings and few remaining residents. It’s a ghost story of sorts that begins when four teenagers tangle with the witch and unleash the curse on the whole town. As the story unfolds, the reader is made aware of hidden sins and secrets, deals struck and promises broken. Jealousy and prejudice abounds, though no one wants to acknowledge it, let alone confront it. The whole persona of the town and its people is a mask hiding the ugliness of those determined to go their own way. The town has embraced its isolation from the outside world and from God, although they would never admit that. The curse that takes hold of the town is of their own making, and the evil that has taken hold is not likely to let go any time soon. A few townspeople are determined to make a change and in the end, the reader knows the fight continues, and a sliver of hope remains. The Curse of Crow Hollow is definitely fiction, but completely on the mark for the hypocrisy of a religion without true faith and lives full of sin without repentance. It is riveting and soul-convicting.
I listened to the audiobook version and have to say, if possible, that is the way to read this book. The voice of the narrator is perfect. The last few words spoken made chills run down my spine for quite a long time. Just don’t listen to or read this one after dark, unless you have a very powerful lamp! 😉
Very Highly Recommended.
Great for Book Clubs.
To purchase this book, click HERE.
(I purchased the audiobook from Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)
Do you like scary books? Why or why not?