Did you like Ira Levin’s 1967 book Rosemary’s Baby, which is now a vintage horror tale known for its satanical and cult ritual plot? If so, you’ll want to consider the modern tale of Oak Hollow, by Kristopher Rufty, that takes a similar theme to the back road swamps of small town southern America. It’s out for purchase on Tuesday, August 6, 2013!
With so many books in the horror genre, both from the past as well as the influx of current titles, it’s always hard to tell just what “type” of horror book you might be getting into when you chose one. Having read two other recent novellas of Kristopher Rufty’s that were violent, highly carnal, and the last a downright bloodbath, just months before digging into Oak Hollow, I didn’t know what to expect. Just as I was starting to think that as an author he was only raw, blunt, and splatter, I had a feeling he might switch it up for me with the full-length novel Oak Hollow. He didn’t disappoint.
As a disclaimer, I am not a die-hard horror genre cult participant that has read a library of back titles I might compare Rufty to (as some do). I am a more stream-lined horror gal. However, I will say with this new book, Oak Hollow, he had tones of the accomplished horror author Edward Lee, who also writes various types of the horror genre. Both Rufty and Lee like to put explicit sex bluntly on the page, just trying to push the inhibitions of your mind and showcasing the rawness of the people they have created. I enjoyed Rufty’s character development as he brought that rawness to the page, with the meandering pace and painstaking details he added…you know, almost intrusive, much like we get with some Stephen King novels……those extra rambling details you don’t really need, but seem to pull you in any way and make you wonder why you feel so absorbed?
I was leery at the very beginning of the book about where he was going with the novel from a supernatural context, but then he slightly started to intertwine the weirdness that was the too tiny town of Oak Hollow. While reading, we get to see his characters real-life dilemmas, their small town mindedness and dealings, their bored lives, and their messed up circumstances. The characters were real and emotional. So much so, that when the oddness came in, you almost felt like it crept up on you.
Rufty delivered circumstances in a natural way that seemed rather almost ordinary on the outside, but were really hiding what true evil was manifesting on the inside. The supernatural forces in Oak Hollow have a hold over the town’s residents so that they are living in hell on earth, and hell inside themselves.
Rufty’s protagonist, pregnant teen Tracey, has the key to their escape, but does she also have the key to their salvation? I don’t want to give away any spoilers. I will say, however, that after the amazing amount of carnal lust and expenditure (a way to spread the curse maybe?) in this novel, I also have never seen this amount of spiritual allegory and guidance in a horror novel. This would be a book for anyone who is going through what they feel is like hell, or at their rock bottom, to read and see for themselves why selfish and immoral behavior just creates more hell. But if you aren’t religious, that shouldn’t scare you away either by any means, it’s a classic tale of an evil entity and its cult followers in a fight to consume everything that is good only for themselves.
Beyond the well-thought out plot and meaning that he made an effort to put into this novel, Rufty embeds us in the tale of a supernatural back woods location whose residents are not what they seem. It’s like a mixture of a zombie plague, the profanation of the succubi, the damning of a hellacious cult, the bane of being vain, and the proverbial fight between good and evil. It’s an ever-increasing thrill ride that is authentic, suspenseful, and substantive. You’ll be pulling so hard for Tracey and her baby to overcome the evil that ensues that you won’t want to put this book down.
I highly recommend this for any follower of Kristopher Rufty as one of his top books, but also to any horror readers. I’d recommended this one to mainstream readers as well that like supernatural books and can handle an R-rating for sexual content, as this is more character and supernatural driven rather than blood and gore. For me, that was a win as I liked the supernatural suspense and the climactic and amazing ending! The creepy cover is perfectly fitting for the diabolical prose that lurks inside its pages.
This book was purchased by me in paperback. All opinions are my own honest observations, thoughts, and opinions.
Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (August 6, 2013)
Soon after seventeen year old Tracey Parks found out she was pregnant, she was sent off to live with her grandmother in Oak Hollow. It was a painful transition, but she learned to love the quaint town and the people who live there. But now, as the birth of her son gets nearer, the once-friendly town seems much more ominous. Could it be that the residents of Oak Hollow have been waiting for her—and her unborn baby—all along? And what role will her baby play in this macabre nightmare?
Kristopher Rufty, Biography
Kristopher Rufty is the writer/director of the movies Psycho Holocaust, Rags, and Wicked Wood, and also the author of Pillowface, Angel Board, The Night Everything Changed (short story prequel to The Lurkers), The Lurkers, A Dark Autumn (novella), Last One Alive (novella), and Oak Hollow.
He also hosts Diabolical Radio, an internet radio show devoted to horror fiction and film. The show has been online for nearly five years now and has developed quite an archive list and following.
He is married to his high school sweetheart and is the father of two insane children that he loves dearly, and together they reside in North Carolina with their 120 pound dog Thor and a horde of cats. He is currently working on his next novel, script, or movie.
For more about Kristopher Rufty, please visit his Website www.lastkristontheleft.blogspot.com. He can also be found on Facebook and Twitter for more updates.