This is an extraordinary well written story about about one man's attempt to find redemption and some form of closure to an incident that occurred during his formative years. Ronald Malfi manages to blend superbly elements of horror and crime nicely presented in the guise of small town America. Travis Glascow and his wife Jodie have settled in the pretty little community of Westlake Maryland but as befits all good storytelling nothing is ever as it seems and, as we are shown, the perfect life is something we all strive for but few achieve. Travis is haunted by the death of his younger brother Kyle, left under his protection but who tragically died jumping from an old wooden pier. The house in Westgate has a sinister past, Elijah Dentman, son of the previous owners met a tragic and untimely demise but even in death the spirit of Elijah refuses to rest "Nature does not know extinction. It knows only change. Metamorphosis. It knows that when life is snuffed out and the soul vacates the body, it must, by definition, go somewhere. And if you don't believe in God or a god or in heaven and hell, then where do souls go?"
What makes this book such a wonderful achievement, so deep thought and contemplative is the authors style of writing. In a reflective mood Travis thinks back to his childhood and in particular his father "My father, who'd always been an intimidating physical presence, seemed to grow smaller day by day, some vital bone or organ now broken within him. He reminded me more and more of those rusted old cars on concrete blocks, colorless weeds growing all around him. He became an alcoholic after Kyle's death and maintained that ungodly and self-deprecating profession until prostate cancer punched his card many years later." Just look at the poetic nature of the opening paragraph to Chapter 18 " When you withdraw from the world, you find that the world withdraws from you, too. Then all that's left is the Greyness, the Void, and this is where you remain. Like a cancerous cell. Like a cut of tissue, diseased, in a Petri dish. You glance down and there it is: this gaping gray hole in the center of your being. And as you stand there and stare into it, all you see is yourself staring back."
Suffice to say this style permeates throughout the book and makes for rich and rewarding reading. Introduce to this a mix some wonderful, colourful characters; Althea Coulter tutor to Elijah and an old lady sadly dying of cancer, Earl Parsons veteran seasoned reporter, Veronica and David Dentman parents of tragic Elijah and possibly holding the secrets and answers that Travis seeks in his search for the truth and maybe just maybe his own salvation.