There’s a nice balance of beauty and threat, belonging and alienation, obedience and rebellion in the opening of T. C. Harrelson’s The Beast of Macon Hollow. Will and his sister move to the strangely old-fashioned home left to their father by an obscure aunt. They bring (almost) nothing of the outside world with them, and they find themselves in a place that time seems to have quietly left behind. But that’s what makes it so safe, of course, and there’s no crime in this town, though there are dead animals and occasional dead humans, and rumors of a beast. The primarily young characters make this an appropriate scary tale for middle-grade readers and up, while some serious discussion of freedom, power and control, together with nicely drawn mythology, should enhance the appeal for older readers too. The sudden appearance of global rather than local threat had me remembering scary tales of my youth—Professors Palfrey and Quatermass come to mind (betraying my English roots). In a way, I almost wanted the story to stay more local. But it grows in depth as well as breadth, leading to a thrilling and thoroughly memorable conclusion. I’d love to see the movie version, and I'd say this is definitely a winner.
Disclosure: I got a free copy of this novel in a Second Wind Book Club deal
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About the reviewer
Sheila Deeth (SheilaDeeth)
Sheila Deeth's first novel, Divide by Zero, has just been released in print and ebook formats. Find it on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, etc. Her spiritual speculative novellas can be found at … more
T.C. Harrelson grew up in the Seventies and Eighties, spending his days reading fantasy, science fiction, and horror. He cut his teeth on classics from Tolkien and modern masters King, Crichton, and Koontz. Now an author himself, his love for the strange, macabre, and supernatural often spills over into his young adult writing. After all, his goal is to write stories he would love to read. T.C. lives in the Wilmington, NC area with his wife (Randie), son (Stephen), and two very spoiled dachshunds.