I find myself reading a plethora of debut novels lately...S.J. Watson's wonderful Before I Go to Sleep, Rosamund Lupton's Sister, and now Christopher Buehlman's Those Across the River. These novels all have an element of suspense and mystery to them, but Buehlman's is just plain creepy...in a good way. For this is not a mystery novel in every sense of the word. This is truly a horror story.
Frank Nichols, great grandson of Lucian Savoyard, and his wife, Eudora, move to the town of Whitbrow, Georgia after World War I. Frank, a notable historian, wants to write a book about Savoyard, an evil, cruel plantation owner, who tortured his slaves. Whitbrow seems to be an ideal town at first, with Eudora teaching school, and Frank settling in to write. However, things begin to get sinister quickly when Frank accidentally meets someone from "across the river". Questions begin to pile up until the ultimate showdown between Frank and those wanting revenge.
I was chilled to the bone reading Those Across the River (and it was 80 degrees out). Buehlman is a master at foreshadowing, making the reader scared to death to turn the page, but unable to stop doing so. He is graphic in a shockingly matter-of-fact way, like this happens everyday in Whitbrow. If you are on pins and needles waiting for the premier of Season 2 of The Walking Dead, read this to get ready.
MY RATING - 4