Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pre-Pub Book Buzz: The People Next Door by Christopher Ransom

Who knew Boulder could be so scary? I am super excited about this release, and not just because it's set in Boulder. I read and loved Christopher Ransom's debut, The Birthing House, it was a seriously chilling horror debut and as a serious fan of horror, I'm always on the lookout for new authors doing something interesting in the genre.

Two of the best elements in any horror story are atmosphere and plot and Ransom nailed both of them fantastically.

His second book, review coming soon, The Haunting of James Hastings, was released in the UK and is said to be a Cemetery Dance release set for later this year. The latest, The People Next Door, is due out July 7 in the UK. Note for us US folks, Book Depository is great for international orders. I also highly recommend Cynthia with High Crimes, and online mystery store that I order many of my UK titles through.

So onto the book. From Ransom's website:

Mick Nash’s summer is off to a bad start. The Last Straw, his once thriving sports bar, is deep in the red. His wife Amy is overweight and bullied by her students. Teen son Kyle has just met alcohol and is willing to steal anything to impress the right girl, while young daughter Briela is gripped by tantrums and recurring nightmares that foretell an approaching menace.

When an idyllic day on a nearby lake ends in a near-death experience, Mick finds himself on the cusp of a terrorizing mystery with the power to change his fortunes forever -- or destroy everything he holds dear.

First there are visions . . .

Resuscitated by unknown forces, recuperating at home, Mick is assailed by horrific visions from the other side. A warning from a deceased friend is only the first in a series of disturbing new insights and visitations, opening frightening doors to new opportunities and leaving Mick increasingly paranoid about the newest addition to the neighborhood.

Then there are neighbors . . .

Overnight transplants to the health and outdoor living mecca of Boulder, Colorado, the Renders have taken up residence in the gaudy spec home behind the Nash acreage. Wife Cassandra offers uncanny solutions to Amy’s suburban doldrums, and husband Vince becomes instrumental in rescuing the Last Straw from financial ruin. Teen goddess June entices Kyle into ever more dangerous thrills, while ten-year-old Adolph has a narcotic influence on Briela.

But there’s something abnormal about the Renders, and every favor has its price. The Nash family's new neighbors keep strange hours and intervene at the most inappropriate times. Wounds from common household accidents heal too quickly, and the Renders seem to thrive on the misfortune of others. While the Renders turn dangerously more native with each passing day, Mick’s investigations into their past uncovers a hidden trail of treachery, violence, and a pact with unholy forces.

Eventually there are victims . . .

Struggling to extract his family from the Renders’ influence, unable to keep friends and adversaries of the two families from meeting with untimely fates, Mick becomes convinced that a new breed of evil has settled in his utopian home town. As their summer turns into a crash course in survival, the Nash family must confront the forces that have driven them apart, and uncover the terrifying truth about the people next door. What they find may have the power to change the way we look at our neighbors -- and our own family members -- forever.

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