THE RIVER THROUGH THE TREES by David Peak (Blood Bound Books)
Years ago, when they were kids, Dan and Grace Robertson had a run-in with the local urban legend known as “Bicycle Bob,” a possibly otherworldly entity that dressed in rags and rode a bike around the woods outside of town, abducting and devouring children. Grace was taken by the man while Dan fled. While his half-sister was eventually found alive but traumatized by her ordeal, they never did capture the person responsible.
Now: Still living in their same town, Dan has grown to become a deeply introverted and timid man, so racked with guilt from the events of his childhood and consumed by the grief of taking care of his terminally ill mother. His job as the cemetery caretaker doesn’t offer many bright spots either. His sister, Grace is the town whore, ravaged by drugs and bad choices. She too has never been able to forget the past.
One day, Dan is taken by a group of local men, bullies, and shown the body of an acquaintance. They leave him there with the body and he walks to town and reports it. Through this event we are introduced to many other denizens of the town: the corrupt local deputy; his boss who is by-the-book and a decent fellow; a teacher who has as much fear as she does concern for the children in her care; Dan’s mother as she is slowly eaten by her illness; twin brothers who run the local meth lab and also seem to worship very ancient entities. As Dan struggles to find his sister, the people and places he encounters show him that this town is just a bandage on a gangrenous wound. One that has been oozing and putrefying for a long, long time.
David Peak has turned in a metal-as-fuck tale of small town horror. If the music of EyehateGod were a story, this would it. Swampy and dark as hell. So veiny and evil and just unsettling that it makes your ears bleed. This book was so effective in that permeating evil vibe. It works on a subliminal level while you read the words and devour the story there is something much more sinister tunneling beneath it. Maybe under you right now, waiting for that perfect moment when you have let your guard down… (John Boden)