Walker has crafted a taut, scary trilogy opener, deftly weaving multiple storylines together for a real nail biter — and the killer(s) is still on the loose at the end! The language is a bit rough for the characters, but the people are instantly familiar and fully three dimensional. Readers will be hooked and tapping their feet for book two.

Ash, Ky., is a quiet small town — or was, until Lena Riddle hears a woman screaming in the woods by her house. The police find nothing, but Lena knows something evil is out there. Ezra King is a state cop on leave and living in his grandmother’s old house a couple of miles away from Lena’s. He is instantly attracted to Lena, and when he hears about the scream she heard, instinct tells him Lena’s also in danger. They have no idea what searching the woods will stir up, but the flames of their attraction will certainly not be the only fire in town. With a body planted at town eccentric Law Reilly’s house and vicious rumors that break the town into paranoid factions, Ezra and Lena must hold on to their growing feelings for one another as one of the few bright spots in what has become a dark vortex of lurking evil. (BALLANTINE, Nov., 400 pp., $7.99)

Reviewed by: 
Bunny Callahan