cover image The Children of Red Peak

The Children of Red Peak

Craig DiLouie. Redhook, $16.99 trade paper (400p) ISBN 978-0-316-42813-2

With this chilling story of cult abuse, DiLouie (Our War) proves his mastery of the slow slide from psychological drama into supernatural horror. As the 15th anniversary of the mass suicide of the Family of the Living Spirit approaches, one of the five survivors of the cult commits suicide and the other four reunite at her funeral. David Young, now a cult exit counselor, uses his happy home life to avoid thinking about the past; his sister, Andrea, a police officer, stews in her anger; rocker Deacon Price pours his pain into his music; and Beth Harris, a psychologist with intense PTSD, convinces them all that revisiting the cult’s base in Red Peak, Calif., will give them some closure. The compassion DiLouie builds for each of these four, both in the present as they plan their return to Red Peak and in flashbacks to their childhoods in the cult, makes the tale’s eventual dark turn hit especially hard. DiLouie also extends a surprising amount of goodwill to Jeremiah Peale, the intense, folksy preacher who founded the cult, showing the way the desperate community of Family of the Living Spirit became easy prey for a supernatural evil. An impressive twist, meanwhile, feels both shocking and inevitable. Horror readers will be hooked. Agent: David Fugate, Launchbooks Literary. (Nov.)