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 since—Philip 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.
I finished this book with burning eyes and a mild throb forming behind my forehead–because I was so into the story, I couldn’t put the book down to go to sleep! The Devil Walks in Mattingly is an intriguing (and somewhat creepy) story that will keep you guessing and turning pages until the end. I love a book where I’m never once restless to skip ahead. This book was one of those. At almost 400 pages long, the story and action never once sagged.
Billy Coffey’s writing has been compared to Mark Twain’s and has been said to follow the vein of The Shack. I honestly didn’t care for The Shack that much, but I can see where the comparison stems from. To me, the writing was like Frank Peretti crossed with Ted Dekker–yet distinctly Billy Coffey! That being said, it’s not for everyone. I started reading this book not realizing it is a tale of the supernatural (ghosts included), which I’m not usually big on. There is also some blood and gore involved. I would not recommend this book to younger readers.
Billy Coffey’s writing is superb; the characters in this book are very real, very easy to imagine, very distinct. The whole book is full of strong scenes and vivid imagery. I’ve grabbed a sentence from the book to use as an example. Don’t you love how the author says, “Lucy was hungry”?:
Lucy inhaled and the scent traveled well south of her nose and settled into the roomy part of her stomach, where it came to life in a series of hungry rumbles.
What I Thought Could Have Been Better
It seems like a book like this would have done well to emphasize a relationship with Jesus Christ at the end. Instead, the humans are kind of left to fight their demons on their own . . . Though God is mentioned and somewhat given credit for the resolution of their angst, it’s only in a roundabout way. Some Christian authors prefer to write to where non-Christians are likely to enjoy their work, and admittedly, The Devil Walks in Mattingly is a book non-Christians can enjoy. Still, I feel the strong spiritual overtones of this book call for more involvement from the only One who can truly help the characters.
The only other thing I saw was that there were so many questions that went unanswered until the book was almost finished that sometimes I got a little confused trying to follow what was going on. Even so, the mystery of the tale was one of its strong points. After finishing the book, even with stinging eyeballs, I went back and reread chapter one–which was titled “The End” because it then made so much more sense.
I’ve never read Billy Coffey’s books, but apparently there are several others. The Devil Walks in Mattingly takes place four years before When Mockingbirds Sing.
I give this book 5 stars.
One star – No comment.
Two stars – Couldn’t get into it.
Three stars – Pretty good.
Four stars – Great read!
Five stars – Worth reading more than once.
In compliance with FTC regulations: I was given a complimentary copy of this book by the publicist on behalf of the author and publisher in exchange for this honest review. No compensation was received for this review. All opinions expressed are my own.
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About the Author
Billy Coffey’s critically-acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains.
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