Welcome to Babylon, a typical sleepy Alabama small town, where years earlier the Larkin family suffered a terrible tragedy. Now they are about to endure another: fourteen-year-old Margaret Larkin will be robbed of her innocence and her life by a killer who is beyond the reach of the law.
But something strange is happening in Babylon: traffic lights flash an eerie blue, a ghostly hand slithers from the drain of a kitchen sink, graves erupt from the local cemetery in an implacable march of terror . . . And beneath the murky surface of the river, a shifting, almost human shape slowly takes form. Night after night it will pursue the murderer. And when the full moon rises over Babylon, it will seek a terrible vengeance . . .
This was recommended to me by Laura @laura.ducking.reads on Instagram after I accidentally let my free Audible trial run over. I’m always very picky about the voices on audiobooks but I thought I could get on with Scott Brick’s, and I was right!
Admittedly, I wasn’t a huge fan of this book to begin with. It’s slow to start because it aims to really set the scene of how out in the middle of nowhere Evelyn and Jerry Larkin live, plus it wants us to get to know the characters before the story ramps up. I found this a little tedious at the start and wasn’t sure how much I was going to love this.
Fortunately, I ended up loving this one. After all the boredom I felt of getting to know the characters, I turned that annoyance on its head. I ended up being so glad that McDowell went into all that detail.
This book shines because of the characters. Not since Rosemary’s Baby have I despised characters as much as I did in this novel. The actions of so many made me physically angry and shocked. I definitely went along with this story with some expectations of good guys, bad guys, and the heroes of this novel but my god, expect the unexpected! There were some obvious character journeys, but others came completely out of the blue. McDowell is ruthless!
In terms of its horror level, I don’t think this would have spooked me as much as it did if I had spent the whole time listening to it at work or at home, but so often I was listening to it in perfect spooky scenarios. In fact, at one point in the novel there is one creepy scene where a character is driving down a long, straight, unlit road surrounded by trees, and where was I when this scene was happening? Driving down a long, straight, unlit road, surrounded by trees. Safe to say I doubly made sure my doors were locked and avoided looking into the shadow of the trees.
The story of this book isn’t exactly unique or maybe even that special however McDowell is such a powerful author, he makes this plot worth reading. Some of the supernatural elements of this book have stuck with me since finishing!
It’s safe to say I love a southern-based horror, thriller. There is something so menacing about these small, desolate farming town novels and this one didn’t disappoint. I am definitely going to make the effort to discover more of McDowell’s work – thanks to Laura for introducing me to him in the first place!