The Dead Path review

Goodreads says:

A haunting vision in the woods sets off a series of tragic events, leaving Nicholas Close lost amid visions of ghosts trapped in their harrowing, final moments. These uniquely ter­rifying apparitions lead him on a thrilling and suspenseful ride to confront a wicked soul, and will leave an indelible mark on lovers of high-quality suspense and horror alike.
Nicholas Close has always had an uncanny intuition, but after the death of his wife he becomes haunted, literally, by ghosts doomed to repeat their final violent moments in a chilling and endless loop. Torn by guilt and fearing for his sanity, Nicholas returns to his childhood home and is soon entangled in a dis­turbing series of disappearances and  murders—both as a sus­pect and as the next victim of the malignant evil lurking in the heart of the woods.
Stephen M. Irwin is the kind of debut author that readers love to discover—and rave about to all their friends. His electric use of language, stunning imagery, and suspenseful pacing are all on full display here. The Dead Path is a tour de force of wild imagination, taut suspense, and the creepiness, scariest setting since the sewers in Stephen King’s It.

I would love to give credit to whomever recommended this book to me but I honestly can’t remember who it was.  I hate when that happens – feel free to remind me because I am grateful you did.

The book started off a bit slow to me – it seemed as if it took quite a while for Nicholas to get to his hometown and the woods where it all begins and ends.  A recent widower, Nicholas is both depressed and disinterested in life until the first child goes missing in the same way his best friend had decades before.  As Nicholas tries to unravel the mysteries around the woods, he finds himself drawn into a sinister web as old as time itself.

Irwin pulls you in so subtly that it isn’t until around the 50th page you realize you can’t put the book down without knowing what happens next.  Black magic, voodoo, witchery…Nicholas encounters it all.  The use of spiders in the story gave me the willies.  I am rather phobic about spiders so this story will, no doubt, be incorporated in bad dreams over the next few days.  Irwin’s writing style has the scenes jumping off the pages.  Both disturbing and sinister, the book will keep you squirming in your seat – you might even gag a time or two before the end.  I found myself swishing at invisible spiders crawling up my leg more than once – such vile little creatures.

I’ve read in other reviews that this is Aussie Stephen Irwin’s debut novel and that it was in the running for the best horror book of the year.  I’d like to know what book won for it is hard to imagine a spooky story more worthy.  My only disappointment in the book was the ending – it did not go the way I had thought it would yet the ending did make a certain amount of sense.  I’m not one who has to have happy endings and I’m not saying this wasn’t one – but it wasn’t the one I expected.  Usually I can guess a book’s ending pretty accurately but this one had a little twist I didn’t see coming.

If you love spooky stories – ones where you swear you can feel spiders crawling down your spine – this is the book for you.  I give the book an A!

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