Josh Malerman's first novel, Bird Box, is one of my favourite audio books. His latest release is Unbury Carol.
At times of stress, Carol goes into such a deep coma that she appears to be dead. She finds herself in a place she has dubbed 'Howltown'. Carol's greatest fear is that she will go into a coma and no one will realize that she is still alive. With the death of her mother, there are only two people who know about her condition - her husband Dwight and her long ago lover, the outlaw James Moxie. And Dwight has just decided that he doesn't need a wife any longer, just her money. When the next coma occurs, Dwight declares her dead.
The dark, what might happen in the dark, and what might be hiding in the dark have been a constant in the three books I've read of Malerman's. This latest addresses a classic fear - being buried alive. Along with the something else that wants Carol dead...
Malerman has set Unbury Carol in an Western setting. I'm not sure if it's past or future as there are references to an 'Illness' sweeping through. But, this setting is absolutely perfect for this tale. Townsfolk, a sheriff who is willing to ask quiet questions, a dangerous trail populated by outlaws, an evil witchy woman, a deranged killer named Smoke and the outlaw James Moxie. Yep, he's the one you'll be urging onward. Will he get to Carol in time?
Malerman is known as a horror author, having been nominated for the Bram Stoker award. But, for me, his work is hard to slot into a predefined genre. His plotting is unusual and his premise and setting are unique. I had no idea where the book was going to take me. (Although, the publisher's descriptive phrase "Unbury Carol feels like Cormac McCarthy rewriting Sleeping Beauty" is pretty darn good.) Yep, it's a love story as well.
I enjoyed the multiple points of view in Unbury Carol. We get to know many characters, including some minor ones and I felt more immersed in the story with so many perspectives to draw on.
The ending is satisfying, but leaves a question with the reader. I know what I want to transpire - I hope it does! Another great read from Malerman. Read an excerpt of Unbury Carol.
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