WELDON BURGE

Publisher/Full-Time Editor/Freelance Writer

Bullets and Butterflies: A Blog by Weldon Burge

Book Review: The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin

November 28, 2010

Tags: suspense fiction, book review, Suspense Magazine, Stephen Irwin

If you're into suspense in all its forms, Suspense Magazine is a must! I love the publication's fine balance of new fiction, author interviews, book reviews, advice for writers of suspense, and amazing graphics. You can find the magazine at most major book stores, but I'd advise subscribing (either to the electronic or the paper version.)

I mentioned in an earlier blog that I've signed on with Suspense Magazine as a book reviewer. The first of I hope many reviews was just published in the December 2010 issue.

Here is my review of The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin:




Nicholas Close is a haunted man. After his wife’s sudden death, Nicholas begins to see dead people—ghosts who must suffer their hideous deaths in endlessly replaying, silent loops before his eyes. He returns to his childhood home in Australia, where he sees the ghosts of terrified children (including his best friend, Tristam, who was murdered when he was ten-years-old) yanked by invisible hands into a dense, dark forest outside of town. More victim than hero, Nicholas is forced to face his childhood fears and confront an ancient evil when a local child goes missing, and he knows other innocent children will die if he doesn’t act. The story builds intensity from there, stacking bodies and scares, and never lets up until the astonishing conclusion. The last chapter is absolutely chilling.

This stunning debut horror novel is part The Sixth Sense, part Blair Witch, part Stephen King’s It, with a liberal helping of the darkest of Grimm’s tales. Such comparisons, however, do little justice to Irwin’s work, which stands strong on its own. His writing is elegant, highly descriptive and well-paced. Any novel revolving around the gruesome murders of children requires a skilled hand and deft control; Irwin handles these elements of his story well. I found the novel deliciously creepy and disturbing. We can expect more from this fine Australian author in the future!

(By the way, if you suffer from any degree of arachnophobia, this book is definitely not for you!)

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