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 has 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 was new to me when I read When Mockingbirds Sing last year. I had questions at the end of it, and hoped they would be answered in his book which, I presumed, would be a sequel. It seems, however, that Coffey doesn’t write his Mattingly books in chronological order. An author’s note at the start of The Devil Walks in Mattingly states that it is set four years BEFORE the events in When Mockingbirds Sing. So, if you were hoping to read more about Leah and Allie and the town’s recovery after the major event in that book – as I was – you’ll be disappointed. I think the events in The Devil Walks in Mattingly were mentioned in passing in When Mockingbirds Sing, but I was too focused on Leah’s story.
I would have loved to have loved this book. It’s not that I’m not a fan of novels about the ‘thin spaces.’ I am. There are definitely things in this world that cannot be rationally explained. I was fascinated by what exists in Happy Hollow, and I want to know more about it. There’s no doubt that Coffey has a poetic way with words. The descriptions of the Hollow and what lies within it are powerful and emphasize the mystery of it. Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with the characters. I had difficulty liking Jake, the main character and the only one to be written in the first person, and I think this was due to his attitude towards his job. I also didn’t get the actions of the townsfolk, who each seemed to believe they were responsible for bringing the devil to their town. Could they be that naïve to think that they were responsible for an unknown person committing a horrific murder? The only person I could understand was the teenager, Lucy. Lucy is lost, lonely and looking for something. Her entanglement with the mad man in the Hollow reminded me of the girls lured by Charles Manson. I hope we’ve not seen the last of her.
Oh, and the sequel to When Mockingbirds Sing is coming. In the Heart of the Dark Wood will be out in November and picks up where When Mockingbirds Sing left off. Despite my indifference to The Devil Walks in Mattingly, I am looking forward to this release and do plan on reading it. Hopefully, I’ll get some of the answers I’m looking for.
Thank you to Thomas Nelson and Litfuse for my complimentary copy of The Devil Walks in Mattingly, which I received in exchange for an honest review.
Have you read The Devil Walks in Mattingly? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 11 March 2014
Page Count: 400