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about the book...
For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man's untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.
It has been twenty years since Philip McBride's body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn't kill himself that day. He was murdered.
Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly's sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.
Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake's dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.
Billy Coffey plumbs the depths of human nature in his latest book, with a tale of secrets and suspense and mystery. "The Devil Walks in Mattingly" starts at a slow burn, perhaps capturing the general feeling of a small southern town. However, the action then explodes onto the pages by the end of part one, and as the story unfolds, the mystery deepens, carrying the reader further into the story. Just when I would think I had something figured out, the author would throw a new twist into the story line!
There is much to celebrate about this book, including a unique plot, interesting characters, and powerful truths. Unfortunately, I did find that the slow beginning and some of the bizarre thinking of some of the characters made it a difficult story for me to enjoy the same way I enjoyed the author’s prior book. That said, I reveled in the vivid descriptions and the tension woven to the story, which resolves with a celebration of grace as deeds of darkness are brought into light, and freedom is experienced by the characters. Readers will be challenged to think about how guilt and secrecy can rob our lives of joy, and also impact our marriages and our children; this reality makes God’s forgiveness and grace all the more profound.
I give this book a rating of 3.5 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for readers who enjoyed Coffey's prior release "When Mockingbirds Sing".
Book has been provided courtesy of the publisher, Thomas Nelson, and the Litfuse Publicity Group, for the purposes of this unbiased review.
about the author...
Billy and his wife, Joanne, live with their two children in the foothills of Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. A product of his small-town locale, Billy counts as assets his rural authenticity, unwavering sense of purpose, and insatiable curiosity--all of which tend to make his front porch a comfortably crowded place.
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