Monday, April 20, 2015

The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin


April is a wonderful month for taking walks in the woods, right? Actually, I`m not so sure. This disturbing novel made me think of the many afternoons I spent as a child exploring wooded areas...and all that could have happened.

When Nicholas Close inadvertently causes his wife to have a freak accident which kills her, he begins to see ghosts at every turn. Each silent spirit continually replays its chilling, violent death right before his eyes. Fearing for his sanity, he leaves London and travels to his quaint Australian hometown of Tallong to spend time with his mother and work on regaining some stability. The first day that Nicholas is back in the familiar surroundings of his childhood, the dead body of a missing boy is discovered and an old trauma begins to resurface. As adolescents, Nicholas and his best friend Tristram were accosted by a stranger while playing in the woods. Nicholas managed to escape, but Tristram's mutilated body was later found. When Nicholas begins to rehash this devastating experience and attempts to get to the bottom of the two crimes, he becomes embroiled in a battle with a powerful, centuries-old witch.

The Dead Path is Irwin’s first novel, and it is very memorable! With beautifully drawn characters, lyrical prose (and some very large spiders!) this is a book you won’t forget. Reminiscent of Stephen King’s It, The Dead Path is a tale of childhood loyalties, buried myths and half-forgotten scores waiting to be settled. If the sinister suburb of Tallong gives you a delicious case of the shivers, be sure to check out The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian.

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