Maggie’s Grave: David Sodergren
Reviewed By Steve Stred
If you’ve been a fan of my work or David’s work, you’ll know the two of us have been weaved together one way or another for a few years now. I’ve beta read for David, he’s beta read for me as well as he’s been my editor/copy editor on almost all of my releases. And, as of writing this review, we’ve completed draft one of a novel we’ve co-written.
What I love about David’s writing is his stylistic approach to creating a cinematic reading experience. The other author’s that do that for me? Adam Nevill, Andrew Cull and Andrew Pyper. The scenes leap off of the pages for me, which makes for such an enjoyable read.
With this, his fourth release, Sodergren decided to tackle a folklore story, revolving around a small town that has a horrible history.
What I liked: I’m a sucker for folklore stories and when it’s focused around a witch, even better. ‘Maggie’s Grave‘ follows four young adults, dealing with the reality that they live in a small town, where nothing happens and that this is most likely their future. One of the four has had a child, which has caused a ripple within their friendships. Then, when trying to impress a surprise visitor, they make a trip to the small town’s “spot,” which just happens to be Maggie’s grave.
I loved the relationships that Sodergren weaved for us, seeing how each person was battling to change while remaining who they were. How old wounds constantly attempted to rear up and derail any sort of forward momentum they would make or could work towards positive change. As someone who grew up in a small town, so much of this was relatable.
One thing I will add – that while David has never shied away from gore and carnage in his previous three releases, ‘Maggie’s Grave‘ takes a lot of that to the next, next level. There’s a scene near the ending involving a community hall and the older members of the town that will most likely cause squeamish readers to put the book down for some time or become ill while reading it. Really superb stuff.
What I didn’t like: Truth here – but as a beta reader, I’ve already told David what I wanted to improve, so it’s a bit of a struggle to suggest something. What I would say is that I was a big fan of the owner of the bowling alley/bar and wished he was involved more. He was a great character.
Why you should buy this: Folklore, small town, carnage, survival, this has it all. Sodergren is a stunning writer, who has easily produced three of the best books over the last few years, and ‘Maggie’s Grave‘ will make that number four. His writing style is succinct and sublime, which I found allows the reader to dive into the world quickly and really feel rooted in what is happening. I really loved this one and I think you will as well.
The small Scottish town of Auchenmullan is dead and has been for years. It sits in the shadow of a mountain, forgotten and atrophying in the perpetual gloom.
Forty-seven residents are all that remain.
There’s nothing to do there, nothing to see, except for a solitary grave near the top of the mountain.
MAGGIE WALL BURIED HERE AS A WITCH reads the faded inscription.
But sometimes the dead don’t stay buried. Especially when they have unfinished business.
Steve Stred is the author of a number of novels, novellas and collections. He has appeared in anthologies with some of Horror’s heaviest hitters.
He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada with his wife, son and their dog OJ.
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