Sunday, July 30, 2006

The Farm - Scott Nicholson

The Farm
Scott Nicholson


Katy Logan thought she was providing stability and security for herself and her 12-year-old daughter, Jett, when she married Gordon Smith and moved to his family’s historic farmstead in tiny Solom, deep in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Gordon is a professor and expert in Appalachian religion. One of his ancestors, the preacher Harmon Smith, known as the Circuit Rider, roams the mountain, occasionally taking unfortunate souls to the great beyond. It quickly becomes clear that Gordon is far more interested in religious sects than in his wife.

Almost immediately, Katy attempts to re-invent herself as the perfect farm wife in order to please her new husband. Determined to make it work, she tries to ignore the strange smells, the sound of heavy footsteps, the goats that seem to watch her, and the jars that fly off of shelves. Jett isn’t having an easy time, either. In the barn, she’s terrified at the appearance of a shadowy man in a wide-brimmed hat. She’s afraid that she’s hallucinating when she continues to see and hear him everywhere. Suddenly, Gordon’s folk tales about a blood-drinking scarecrow don’t seem so amusing.

The atmosphere is completely claustrophobic from the first page. Katy and Jett seem to be completely cut off from the world at large; trapped in Solom, both physically and mentally. The inhabitants of Solom, far from being backwoods caricatures, all have histories and unique personalities. The pacing and dialogue are spot-on, adding to the air of mounting dread. THE FARM should keep you awake and flipping pages long into the night. Another winner from Nicholson.

Rating: 8 ½
July 2006
ISBN# 0-7860-1712-0 (paperback)


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