The Beast Of Rose Valley: J.P. Barnett
Reviewed By Steve Stred
- Paperback: 276 pages
- Publisher: Evolved Publishing; First Softcover ed. edition (4 Mar. 2019)
I’m a true sucker for creature features and the synopsis for this one regarding a creature that has stalked Rose Valley a number of times of the years sounded right up my alley.
Barnett is a new to me author but his writing style was great and found his ideas straight forward and he was able to get me to connect to the story immediately which is always a huge bonus for me.
The book takes off on page one as we are introduced to Jake and Shandi, a local farmhand and the town’s reporter as Barnett shares with us the grisly discovery of some livestock. From there more of the small town folk are introduced and as is typical in such small towns, we learn most of the characters have long, interconnected backgrounds from high school and onward to present day.
As the killings continue and sightings occur, Barnett does a great job building up tension and teasing a possibly cryptozoological connection. By bringing in a Cryptozoologist character, while a bit over the top, was a great touch and really made this a page-turner for me. Throw in a secretive research facility that’s been in the area for a century and you can see where a reader can really get sucked in.
One thing I found distinctive for me that increased my enjoyment was the visible creature throughout. In many books, there is a long build-up and then finally a climactic moment where the big reveal happens. Not in this book and that worked wonderfully.
The book wasn’t without faults – for me personally, it was a lot of the romantic moments/internal drama moments. I didn’t connect with the characters often getting randomly jealous or feeling scorned over small things, little random things that drove me crazy. I think without these bits the story would have been elevated. Not sure if it was an attempt at making the book more YA or what, but I wished for far less of those moments.
Overall I had a lot of fun with this book. It was a page-turner and I was sucked in quickly, wanting to know just what was going to happen and what exactly the creature was.
From the title, you can see that the book is part of an ongoing series. The two characters that you ultimately find out will continue on really didn’t trigger me into wanting to read more about their adventures. This may be different for other readers, but for me personally, they were minor parts in the overall narrative and didn’t make me want to find out what was up next for them.
If you are looking for a fun, fast-paced creature feature set in a small town, you really can’t go wrong with this one.
Star Rating (out of 5): 4*
The Beast Of Rose Valley
After suffering through a horrific car accident, Jake Rollins struggles to survive in his tiny hometown of Rose Valley—a place to which he hoped never to return.
When a sheep is viciously mutilated on the ranch where Jake is recovering, he’s dragged back into the cloying politics of small-town life. While the Sheriff tries to pass off the incident as the work of coyotes, Jake turns to a local reporter and old high school flame, Shandi Mason, to search for the truth.
They discover that this creature has stalked Rose Valley before, claiming nearly a century of carnage and intrigue, all starting with a shameful secret guarded over by one of the town’s most respected citizens.
As livestock mutilations escalate into deadly attacks on humans, and the Sheriff organizes a foolhardy manhunt, Jake and Shandi must race to save the town from a seemingly unstoppable evil.
Steve Stred is an up-and-coming Dark, Bleak Horror author.
Steve is the author of the novel Invisible, the novellas Wagon Buddy, Yuri and Jane: the 816 Chronicles and two collections of short stories; Frostbitten: 12 Hymns of Misery and Left Hand Path: 13 More Tales of Black Magick, the dark poetry collection Dim the Sun and his most recent release was the coming-of-age, urban legend tale The Girl Who Hid in the Trees.
On June 1st, 2019 his second full-length novel, The Stranger will be welcomed to the world.
Steve is also a voracious reader, reviewing everything he reads and submitting the majority of his reviews to be featured on Kendall Reviews.
Steve Stred is based in Edmonton, AB, Canada and lives with his wife, his son and their dog OJ.
You can follow Steve on Twitter @stevestred
You can visit Steve’s Official website here
Ahhh… nothing like the annual summer family camping trip, right?
Malcolm, his wife Sam and their two kids have been staying at the same cabin, at the same campground for years now. Heck, Malcolm’s been coming to the campground since he was a kid.
Miles and miles of groomed trails, hiking, kayaking on the pristine lake. What’s not to like?
But this year… well this year’s different. You see, roof repairs have caused them to have to change their plans. Now they’re staying at the cabin at the end of season, in fact they’re the last campers before it closes for the winter.
While happy to be spending time with the family, Malcolm feels a shift.
The caretaker next door makes it known he hates him.
The trees… move and dance, as though calling him, beckoning him.
Then on a seemingly normal kayaking trip, the family makes a discovery.
YOU TAKE FROM ME
I TAKE FROM YOU
Something’s out there, just on the other side of the fence. Malcolm’s positive it’s just the caretaker trying to scare him, teach the family a lesson.
But what if it’s not…
What if there is something out there?
The Stranger is the second novel from Steve Stred and 9th release overall. The Stranger is another offering following in the footsteps of similar books Invisible, YURI and The Girl Who Hid in the Trees. As Steve describes his works; “dark, bleak horror.”
With this release, Steve has decided to look deeper into what makes humans tick. He confronts two key elements of mankind; bigotry and our environmental footprint.
Featuring stunning cover art by Chadwick St. John (www.inkshadows.com), The Stranger will be a story that will leave you feeling uneasy and have you looking at the trees differently.
Maybe it’s not the wind making the branches sway…