cover image The Narrows

The Narrows

Ronald Malfi. Samhain, $6.50 e-book (412p) ISBN 978-1-61921-073-8

Malfi (The Floating Staircase) brings a cinematic vividness to this story of a dying small town whose fate manifests as a nightmare of supernatural horror. Stillwater, Md., is in the final throes of its decline as an industrial town when it is plagued by a series of weird incidents: hordes of bats start appearing, several young boys go missing, and townsfolk begin seeing phantoms from their pasts. As police officer Ben Journell investigates, a pattern emerges that suggests something malignant is preying on the public and personal miseries of Stillwater and its citizens. Cross-cutting among the increasingly bizarre experiences of several principal characters, Malfi constructs a panoramic narrative in which the despair of individuals sharpens the sense of horror overwhelming the town. This smartly written novel succeeds as both an allegory of smalltown life and a tale of visceral horror. (Sept.)