Posted yesterday! Check it out! And then check out the book itself on Amazon!
I don’t usually write Amazon reviews, but since this book was written by a friend (Matthew Keville), I figured the least I could do was spend a few minutes writing a review of a book that gave me so many hours of enjoyment. It’s a horror novel, not for everyone but I think many of my friends would enjoy it. Those who grew up in the same town that we did will find many references and “easter eggs” that only we will recognize. Here’s the book:
And here’s my review:
Hometown is a great first novel from Matthew Keville that captures the essence of growing up in a small town, particularly the one in upstate NY in which he and I grew up. (Full disclosure, we went to high school together.) The horror genre gives him an opportunity to explore the simmering tensions just beneath the apparently quaint surface: the poverty and loss of industry, the historical vs. the modern, the cool vs. the rejects, the mansions vs. the trailer parks, and the haves vs. the have nots. The novel asks us, what if what if all of the darkness buried beneath the picket fences was let loose? What if some catalyst initiated an unstoppable chain reaction of all that we have collectively repressed and oppressed?
Two main features stood out to me as excellent in this novel. The first is character development. It was occasionally difficult to pick the book up after a long day because I had grown to care about the characters, and the tension of the action was sometimes too much after after a long day! Occasionally, I just couldn’t bear to see my favorites going through so much, which is the mark of a very good developing writer indeed. The characters were nuanced, especially the “good” characters, and I liked them on a personal level. I felt I knew them. The “bad guys” were utterly despicable.
The other excellent feature — for me — is the landscape of the town itself. It isn’t going too far to call the town a character in this book, and it has that feel of something alive. I was vividly taken back to the place where I grew up, as though the town reached out and pulled me back. In that sense, this book exactly expresses the idea of Freud’s uncanny or unheimlich: the familiar that turns to terror as it mixes with the unfamiliar. “The call is coming from inside the house,” as it were. That is this book to a “t.” We have met the enemy, and he is us.
This is the most fun I’ve had reading in a while. I will very much look forward to watching Keville hone his craft in further novels, and will be on the lookout for his next book.