The small-town setting might conjures a quaint picturesque image, but Thorne makes it clear that secrets run amok behind closed doors, just as his opening page, with its reference to the acidic fluid emerging from an “enormous crimson glans,” should alert readers to the tenor of the horror to come. Still, despite such infernal flourishes, the scope here is personal. The local pastor struggles with finances, causing him to take matters into his own hands. The church’s pianist lives a double life, and a young mother is forced to hide her scars and put on a happy face despite the terror going on in her home. Each character is given ample page time to invite readers into their personal hells. This allows for meticulously developed backstories, though some readers may find it challenging to connect to so many points-of-view. Still, the mix of sorrow and shame powering these stories lends substance to the scenes of horror. The shocking moments deliver serious jolts.
Horror fans looking to dive into sin, morality, and forgiveness will enjoy Thorne’s twisty storytelling and Hell Spring’s accompanied eclectic cast of God-fearing characters. Themes of guilt, redemption, and forgiveness abound, while morality and sin are often centerpieces of debates. Readers interested in a twisted tale revolving around virtue will soak up this dread-laced thrill ride.
Takeaway: Horror fans looking to dive into sin and morality will enjoy this small town’s night of hell.
Great for fans of: Brian Kirk’s We Are Monsters, Tim Waggoner.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A