“The River Through the Trees” by David Peak

The-River-Through-the-Trees-by-David-Peak

Cold?

Good.

Snowing?

Even better.

Settle in for a creepy, literate ride through rural Michigan with “The River Through the Trees,” a novella by David Peak (Blood Bound Books, 2013) I’m a sucker for tales set in my home state and this one gets the little details right, like the chapter headings that set a time of day and the amount of snow that is falling. There are times of the year around here when that’s all that matters. The book also nails the acrid desperation of folks stuck in towns where nothing is going on, folks who lack the means or motivation to leave. In small towns, everyone knows everyone else’s business while simultaneously being blind to other, darker endeavors and mysteries. Peak’s book gets that sense right too. Ardor, Mi surely feels like a real place, but one made a bit truer than real, like Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County, or more to the point, Lovecraft’s Arkham–other reviewers brood on the similarity to HP’s place-bound cosmic horror. Personally, I could stand to see a mythos spawned from “The River Through the Trees.” Certainly there’s a vibrant cast of weirdness set out… and I can’t say much more than that for risking spoilers. It’s a quick read, maybe 50,000 words perfect for a winter’s night when you unplug the cable, switch off your celphone and remember what rural Michigan felt like in 1993.

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