It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since–Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.
Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.
Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies. – Goodreads.com
“We all had secrets we kept and lies we told, and often the greatest among them were the ones we kept from and told to ourselves.” – Jake Barnett, The Devil Walks in Mattingly
I found myself still thinking about this book a few days after finishing it. When you get right down to it, this story was about love, repentance, forgiveness, and how secrets and guilt can slowly erode any happiness in life.
The characterization in this book was outstanding. Every character had their own distinct personality and really seemed to come alive as I read the story – not just the MCs, but the supporting players also, and I think everyone can relate in some way to both Jake and Kate and their reasons for keeping secrets. The setting, a small town in the hollows of the Virginia mountains, was ideal.
Going into the story, the reader knows something horrible happened in the past, and the truth is revealed, but very gradually. What is perceived as the truth by one may not be the same for all and discovering what it actually was kept me glued to these pages. This was a dark example of how our actions, regretful or not, can affect a multitude of lives for many years to come.
At times, the writing was poetic, even profound, and I would reread some sections numerous times. I would recommend this book to readers that can appreciate a slower buildup in their books and the journey along the way, with a little supernatural kick thrown in.
The Devil Walks in Mattingly is scheduled to be published March 11, 2014. This review is based on a digital copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.