Book Reviews

{Review} IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN by Andy Davidson

Published by Skyhorse on 3/5/19
Genres: Dark Fiction, Fiction, Horror
Pages: 384
Format: ARC, Paperback
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One night in 1980, a man becomes a monster.

Haunted by his past, Travis Stillwell spends his nights searching out women in West Texas honky-tonks. What he does with them doesn’t make him proud, just quiets the demons for a little while. But after Travis crosses paths one night with a mysterious pale-skinned girl, he wakes weak and bloodied in his cabover camper the next morning—with no sign of a girl, no memory of the night before.

When motel-owner Annabelle Gaskin offers the cowboy a few odd jobs to pay his board, he takes her up on the offer. By day, he mends the old motel, insinuating himself into the lives of Annabelle and her ten-year-old son. By night, in the cave of his camper, he fights an unspeakable hunger. Before long, Annabelle and her boy come to realize that Travis is not what he seems.

Half a state away, a grizzled Texas Ranger is hunting Travis for his past misdeeds, but what he finds will lead him to a revelation far more monstrous. A man of the law, he’ll have to decide how far into the darkness he’ll go for the sake of justice.

When these lives converge on a dusty autumn night, an old evil will find new life—and new blood.

Horror After Dark Review

Rarely do I find myself struggling to find the words I want to say about a book, but today I am. Know why? Because IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN was so beautifully written, powerful, surprising and engaging.. Oh! Apparently, I CAN find the words if I try hard enough!

In this dark tale set during 1980, there’s everything a horror lover could want. You’ve got a villain with so many layers to him, reading about him is like peeling an onion. There is no bad guy with a black hat here…well, actually, he does wear a black hat, but you know what I mean. He’s complicated. All of the other characters have depth to them as well and even though some of them do bad things, you are privy to the reasons they are doing them and you can understand. You can identify. You can relate.

There is a level of trust expected of the reader with this book. There are allusions made to events that you must trust will be made clear later, (and they were.) Even though those events were brought to light, they only complicated, (there’s that word again!) my feelings for the characters and I love when that happens. 

I don’t want to give away too much of the story as I feel that it should be related to you as the author intended. Since the book never said the word, I’m not going to say it either. What is actually going on is deftly handled, sometimes gory and disgusting, sometimes poignant and heartbreaking. 

I find myself thinking about the book days after I finished it and that’s always a sign that I’ve read something special. If you like characters with layers, if you like dark fiction beautifully told, (think Cormac McCarthy or Peter Straub), if you like a little more blood and gore than McCarthy or Straub usually provide, and you like to curl up with a book that surrounds and engulfs you, read this book now!

Highly recommended!

*I received a paperback ARC from the publisher in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.*

About Andy Davidson

Born and raised in Arkansas, Andy Davidson is the Bram Stoker Award-Nominated author of IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of Mississippi. His work has appeared in print and online journals. He currently makes his home in Georgia with his wife and a bunch of cats.


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