I loved this book set in the small town of Mattingly. Bill Coffey's writing style is very unique and the development of his characters is simply astounding. Proof of this is the compassion I begin to feel for Taylor Hathcock, a crazy man living in the mountains for the past 20 years. However, it is easy to love the members of the Barnett family - Jake, Kate, and little Zach.
This is a great story that delves into people struggling with forgiveness. Not necessarily struggling to forgive, but struggling to accept God's forgiveness for their sins. Guilt over the last 20 years consumes Jake and Kate and they cannot forgive themselves or believe in the forgiveness offered by God. The story is really quite moving and many will be able to relate with some of their own past regrets.
This story easily earns 5 stars and I'm ready to devour In the heart of the Dark Wood. I highly recommend this book and author.
A Twenty Year Old Secret, Redemption & Forgiveness
April 8, 2014
Billy Coffey in his new book "The Devil Walks In Mattingly" Book Two in the Mattingly series published by Thomas Nelson takes us back to the town of Mattingly.
From the back cover: 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 sinceÃ¢â¬âPhilip didn't kill himself that day. He was murdered.
Each of the three have 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.
Twenty years ago Philip McBride committed suicide. However that is not true he was actually murdered and three individuals have kept that a secret. The problem is there is a certain weight that go with the carrying of this kind of secret and, after twenty years, it is beginning to crush them. All three of them are trying to repent of their sin by their works and that is never going to accomplish anything. The only one who can forgive sin is God and it is going to take their repentance and His forgiveness to restore these three persons back to health. That is if they survive that long. Mr. Coffey does a superb job of making each character come alive so that we feel what they feel. This is a gripping story that will keep you flipping pages late into the night until you finish it. I recommend this book highly and look forward to a return to Mattingly.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."
"The Devil Walks in Mattingly" encourages the reader to identify with key characters disillusioned by the crippling impact of the darkness of regret, the insecurity of self-doubt, and the struggle to move forward after the death of Philip Mc Bride.
Author Billy Coffey left me with a lingering sense of reliving my own past shedding light on events, thought long forgotten, and their dramatic impact on my personal choices, core values, their limitations on my accomplishment and their inspiration leading to current successes, self-worth, and healthy relationships.
Coffey writes with a n intensity and conviction that reaches deep into the heart, producing self-revelation, higher aspirations, a stronger sense of commitment to purpose, and a better understanding of God's grace, forgiveness, and redemption.
A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.
I very much enjoyed this book. I can't explain why some books grab my attention better than others. Maybe it's the way the author writes. Maybe it's the story line or the content. Maybe it's a throw-away phrase on the backmatter that beckoned me. Or maybe it's all the above tightly woven into a complex novel that registers on a deeply emotional level.
This isn't a book that should be read as quickly as possible. This is a deep, rich novel filled with nuggets of wisdom and truth that must be chewed on and thought about. Applied to our own lives. There is so much, so many lessons in this story, it's hard for me to put it all into one single review. This is a read-again, think-again type of novel. One that helps put the past into perspective and allows ourselves to reach out to God and ask for the forgiveness He so willingly offers. Especially when it's so difficult for us to forgive ourselves for our own heinous past.
Have you ever heard someone say, "If I'd do anything in my life over, it'd be..." and out pours some past regrets of something they did or didn't do? Now, what if you had pulled a senseless prank on someone and had to live with the awful consequences for the rest of your life? Would you allow your regrets to consume you and change your future? Or would you know that choice rather than fate governs our lives and those actions are the ones that will define us for what we would become?
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone stumbles and falls. Bad things happen to good people. We all must live with the consequences of our actions; whether good or bad. Such is the case with Jake and Kate Barnett and Taylor Hathcock.
I've read my fair share of scary books, but I am convinced the scariest antagonist of a novel is one who is more than insane (if that's possible) and believes all the evil acts he/she does is God's will and is the right thing. The ones who look like us but who have been pushed or bullied so much and treated so badly that they break into a million scattered, hurting pieces that can only hurt in retaliation. The pitiful ones. The saddest ones who make each of us stop and remember all the terrible things we said or did as kids to others who were a little different.
"Am I good?"
"There is none good. There is only grace. Mercy and forgiveness." <~ No truer words were ever spoken.
*My thanks to the publisher who provided me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own and I was not required they be positive.*
Do you remember the time you picked up a book by an author that you hadn't read? The queasiness and unease that you felt? Should you spend the money on the unknown author, or pick up the book by an author that you already know that you'll enjoy the book? Those were the feelings that I had after I requested this book. Come with me and let's peel the cover back together and find out if I made the right choice or not.
Three lives forever changed by the death of one young man. Three lives searching for redemption but not expecting it to ever be extended to them. As they all struggle with the guilt that comes from this single event, things begin to take on a strange life of their own. Jake know what was happening but did nothing, his wife, Kate, shares his guilt over what has happened and Taylor is starting to come apart. As super-natural occurrences continue in Happy Hollow, the three of them have increasingly hard times figuring truth from fiction. Did one of them really kill Phillip? Will forgiveness be extended to any of them, do them even deserve it? Is the happenings real or is it just their guilt manifesting itself into reality? Don't keep your head up in the holler, go BUY THIS BOOK!!
I will admit that this book was tough to get into and tough to follow. The writing style of the author is more poetic and rhythmic than I'm normally used to reading. The characters and descriptions provided are very detailed and specific. This tends to bog down my enjoyment as sometimes I think authors can provide too much information as they are establishing their story. The plot of "Thin Places" is a new one to me, so this book was interesting and not something that I have read before, so from that aspect this was new and kept me coming back for more. The mystery and supernatural elements are pretty obvious, but the Christian element is left in the background.
Is this a "guy's book"? This book does not provide you with all of the normal mind-blowing, car-chasing suspense novels that I normally review on here. This is more of an allegory, but one that tells a great story if you can slow your pace down to fully enjoy what the author is trying to share with you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."