Title: The Curse Of Crow Hollow
Author: Billy Coffey
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication date: August 4th 2015
Page Count: 404 pages
Age Rating: YA & Up (death, violence, vague sexual references, and mentions of past assault)
How I got my hot little hands on it: Received an ARC to review
Publisher’s page: The Curse Of Crow Hollow
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.
It all starts like your average horror story – four teens go camping alone in the woods and stumble upon the cabin of a witch, who curses the trespassers. The people of Crow Hollow have long judged Alvaretta to be a witch, one who has sworn to get revenge on the small town over what she perceived as the wrongful death of her husband, so when the teens come back to town with tales of a curse and symptoms of a mysterious illness, all of Crow Hollow knows that Alvaretta’s vengeance is upon them. The mysterious illness quickly spreads and just as quickly wrathful fingers are pointed at those responsible for incurring the witch’s curse on the town. Religion, superstition, fear and feelings of helplessness turn neighbor against neighbor and soon mass hysteria spreads like a sickness through the streets.
Psychological horror with a religious bent, The Curse Of Crow Hollow fairly drips with Southern voice and character, starting with that of the semi-omnipotent narrator who recounts the tale to the captive audience. The writing is fantastic and the tension is nail-biting, but reading The Curse of Crow Hollow made me feel terrible – like I seriously had a visceral reaction to the words on the page and the story unfolding before me. The way that the town’s people turned on each other turned my stomach into knots and I had a terrible feeling in my gut the whole way through.
This book scared me, not so much in the chills and thrills kind of way, but at the way it made me think with its brutal look at religion, human nature, and how little grains of darkness can bring an entire town to its knees. I will say I was surprised to realize this was a religious book, as it felt like the book was poking at the hypocrisy sometimes seen in the church – preachers inciting fear and panic and people claiming to be good Christian people while gossiping and turning on each other, sometimes violently. However, all is not lost here. The book ends, if you can believe it, on a positive note, a light at the end of the dark tunnel. It’s a good ending, and one that made me rethink my feelings on what I had read and go back and give it a second look.
In the end, I did enjoy this book. Well-written and easy to get lost in, the high-tension and deep subject matter kept me engaged and on the edge of my seat the whole way. One thing is for sure, Billy Coffey sure know how to spin a tale and hook a reader – I’ll definitely be on the lookout for more books by the same author.
The Curse of Crow Hollow is not your average good vs. evil horror story. It’s much more complex than that; the good people of Crow Hollow aren’t all that good, and the evil witch of the mountain isn’t all that evil. Sometimes there is darkness in the light and light in the darkness, so I’m recommending Underground Coffee Light In The Dark – a intriguing blend of smoky dark roast and a complex light roast coffee.