cover image The Chill

The Chill

Scott Carson. Atria/Bestler, $27 (384p) ISBN 978-1-9821-0459-7

Aaron Ellsworth, the protagonist of this creepy tale of supernatural terror from the pseudonymous Carson (a bestselling author), has returned home to upstate New York to a life of substance abuse and minor criminality after being expelled from the Coast Guard. He lost his temper with his partner, a less competent swimmer, during a panic training drill. In order to control his temper through exercise, Aaron decides to swim in the dangerous Chilewaukee Reservoir, whose creation decades earlier submerged the town of Galesburg. After cutting his foot badly during a swim, he gets angry at a state dam inspector who tries to help him. Aaron hits the inspector with a bottle, knocking him into the water, where he drowns. That killing proves to be the precursor to an effort by sinister, ghostly forces to get revenge on those they deem responsible for the destruction of Galesburg. Carson suspends disbelief through plausible characterizations and convincing descriptive passages, especially of the water tunnel system that feeds New York City. Fans of Michael Koryta’s horror thrillers such as The Ridge will be more than satisfied. Agent: Richard Pine, Inkwell Management Literary Agency. (Feb.)