By David Niall Wilson and  Steven Savile 

Narrated by Joe Geoffrey

Produced by Crossroads Press

Hallowed Ground is a slow walk on a Sunday afternoon. This is not to say it lacks excitement, action, suspense, and a little horror, because it has all that. Hallowed Ground has the slow western pace of the American Cowboy era, and the authors do an excellent job at infusing that feel. There are page turning sections begging to be turned and other sections that make you go, hmmm, but the overall feel is unhurried, simple, and to be honest, sinister.

The essence of the book reminded me of a Sunday afternoon watching John Wayne movies with a little spice added. I could feel the parched desert, dry mouth, and hunger. I could taste the dust kicked up by boots and horse shoes. Made me want to take a slow walk through a small town in the middle of nowhere, with a six shooter slung on my hip and a bottle hooch in my other hand.

And now that I’ve written about the book, but nothing about the book, I’ll tell you a little more. Hallowed Ground is packed full of characters, and these are characters with subtle unexpected quirks. From the cowboy who makes the initial discovery of unwelcomed visitors, to the law man with his no-nonsense tone, the whore who wants the one thing she can never have, and the preacher man who knows evil comes.

There are several characters that take an active lead in the book, but  Creed is the one I most wanted to know more about. Creed is a cowboy, living in the small off-the-trail town of Rookwood. He’s lived other places, but is comfortable in Rookwood and isn’t looking to move on. A good portion of the book focuses around Creed as he’s the one to discover the Deacon and his band of merry misfits in Dead Man’s Gulch just outside of town. Unafraid, Creed approaches the Deacon and informs him, in an informal way, that he’s over stepped in setting up camp without first speaking to the local Sheriff. The story starts to turn dark and Creed makes you to think he’s about only Creed, but just when we think he’ll head for the hills, we see he has a sense of honor. He keeps a look out for his friends, like Stick.

Stick is the local sheriff. Thin. Tall. Gangly. He’s a law man’s law man and watches his town, knows who and what goes on in and around. He likes things just so. Orderly. Stick isn’t afraid to confront a group of odd strangers that make themselves comfortable in the Gulch and isn’t about to back down when the feeling of doom creeps closer.

The traveling evangelical troop that sets up camp is led by the mysterious Deacon, a man who everyone reveres and thanks for their current fortunes. Or so we are lead to believe. The Deacon’s loyal followers include a midget who paints, three old ladies who foretell the future, and a newborn babe, among others. You immediately get the sense of circus freaks. The Deacon sees whats coming, feels it in his bones and is warned by the ‘sisters’ the three old ladies that accompany him. His response to there warning is to build a religious revival, trusted as he is to save those who cannot save themselves.

With the travelers appearance, a flock of crows move to Rookwood. Many believe the crows arrival is an omen of evil, a dark presence. They could be right. Days later, bad things begin to happen and no one knows for sure why.

As most of you know, I love audiobooks and this is another that I’ll give a thumbs up for. I listened to Hallowed Ground as produced by Crossroads Press and narrated by Joe Geoffrey.  Joe’s voice was perfect for the feel of the book. He has that gravelly voice that makes me think of dry ground. His pacing was spot on and though there were times I wanted it to move faster, that’s just a me, Joe kept the pace with a dark foretelling menace. Anything else would have taken away from the story.

Hallowed Ground was a great listen and the suspense will keep you on edge. The book combined a touch of horror with some paranormal feel and the over whelming sense of the old west.

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