In the small town of Mattingly, Virginia, Sheriff Jake Barnett and his wife, Kate, carry the weight of a dark secret, a secret that threatens to crush them, chaining their conscience to a burden that grows greater with each day.
Just outside of Mattingly, there within in Happy Hollow–an area thick with a supernatural presence—Taylor Hathcock watches and waits. Self-appointed caretaker of the Hollow, Hathcock has secrets of his own.
One evening when an apparent convenience store robbery leads to a murder, their secrets threaten to spread beyond their own tortured lives and infect the entire community. Jake, Kate, and Taylor’s secrets—and therefore their lives—are intertwined around the death of a fellow high school classmate, Phillip McBride.
Although Phillip’s death was determined a suicide, each of them held themselves responsible for his life ending. The struggle with guilt, fear, and anger is constant, wrecking their lives, and the lives of those around them.
In The Devil Walks in Mattingly, Billy Coffey delves deeply into the souls tormented by the death of this young man. The burden they each carry is palpable. Coffey masterfully brings us into the minds of the main characters as they try in their own twisted ways to make amends in their own souls. All the while, supernatural forces—both good and evil—weave their way though Mattingly, fighting for those very souls.
As a thriller, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, hooks you in immediately. You know something strange is going on, you know there must be a terrible secret, but Coffey plays the plot card close to his chest. He feeds you just enough to make you hungry for more answers. He deftly lays out the story to keep you on the edge. It is a book that may cause real life to take a back seat for a while.
But Coffey’s novel is much more than just a supernatural thriller. There’s an aching, yearning beauty to it. Coffey successfully uses the pain of guilt and condemnation that haunt Kate, Jake, and even Taylor, as a mirror to reflect the destruction of guilt in the lives of all humanity and skillfully brings the reader to that moment of redemption when the last page is turned.
Review copy provided by Litfuse
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