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Those Across the River Hardcover – September 6, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 159 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


“One of the best first novels I’ve ever read.” —Charlaine Harris, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author

“An unsettling brew of growing menace spiked with flashes of genuine terror—do not miss this chilling debut. Christopher Buehlman is a writer to watch. I look forward to hearing from him again. And soon.” —F. Paul Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Sibs

“Lures you into a different era, seduces you with eloquent prose and sensual period details, then clamps down on your jugular…An outstanding debut.”—Hank Schwaeble, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Diabolical

“Beautifully written…with a cast of Southern characters so real you can almost see the sweat roll down the page. The ending is exceedingly clever.”—Boston Herald

About the Author

Christopher Buehlman is the winner of the 2007 Bridport Award for Poetry and the author of several plays. He lives in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Ace Books; 1 edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0441020674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0441020676
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (159 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #661,571 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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By Nathan Webster TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I think this review is spoiler-free; any information I'm giving shouldn't be a surprise to any horror/suspense novel fans.

First, I liked most of this book a lot. Christopher Buehlman's writing voice captured the 1930s mood and southern gothic tone the novel required. The building sense of forboding was not harmed by his subtle foreshadowing, and while certain elements were clearly telegraphed, it all made sense within the narrative.

I especially liked the narrator's identity as a World War I veteran with PTSD. This kept it current to today's wartime experiences, while remaining rooted in the narrative's time period. I do wish the author had done more with the narrator's identity as a disgraced college professor - it's important for the early pages, but then it fades into the background. Academia is its own kind of horror, so I just think there was untapped tension there.

Buehlman has a poetry background, and I believe that comes through. One advance review compared him to F. Scott Fitzgerald, but William Faulkner is more accurate (it also compared him to Dean Koontz, but Buehlman is a superior writer).

The first two-thirds are close to HP Lovecraft in overall feel (and Faulkner in writing style). The reader knows there's something bad going on, but the point of the novel is what the reader expects to be the horrific reveal, as ancient secrets come to light, and the narrator falls victim to curses, blood, destiny, etc. But, as for the big reveal...I was kind of meh about it. Let me put it this way - Buehlman sets up an expectation of supernatural horror based on the bad luck of bloodlines, but the real ending doesn't connect those dots in a unique way, and it sort of devolves into conventional Grand Guignol.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Frank Nichols had carried on an affair with Eudora Lehman for two years before her husband discovered them. Disgraced and blacklisted, Frank has been unable to find another job in a University, but, in what appears to be a great stroke of luck, he inherits a house from his late mother's sister. She warns him to just sell the house - to not move down to Georgia - but he decides that it would be a good idea to write a book about his great-grandfather who, after the end of the civil war, refused to release his slaves and treated them so badly that they rose up in revolt and killed him, his family and all his livestock. So, he and Dora move to Whitbrow, Georgia, where Dora has been offered a teaching position to replace Frank's aunt in the high school. However, it's not long after they arrive that Frank begins to notice the superstitious awe with which the townfolk view Megiddo forest, across the river. Once a month, on the full moon, they send two pigs over the river - no one is really sure how this began, although there are a lot of rumors. However, times are hard, and the townfolk decide to stop wasting pigs they could be eating. That's when things begin to go horribly wrong. That's when people begin to die ...

I've read a lot of creepy books over the past couple of months; I think this is the creepiest. The build-up of suspense and horror starts slowly and subtly, with hints and clues and vague allegations. However, once those across the river are revealed completely, things progress rapidly. A crescendo is reached and it seems like that might be the end, only for things to start back up, reach another crescendo ... it's like watching a horror movie when you think the monster is dead, but they aren't really and they pop back out at you time and again. I loved it - I think it might give me nightmares, but I loved it! If you like horror, you will LOVE "Those Across the River."
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Whitbrow is a forgotten backwater Georgia town in a forgotten backwater time. The time is 1935, back when Huey Long was assassinated on the statehouse steps in Baton Rouge. But few people remember such things anymore. None of the houses and precious few of the businesses in Whitbrow have power, and the hardware store owner moonlights as the Sheriff. None of the local residents ventures over the river to where the ruins of an old plantation are said to lie, a plantation whose owner was so evil that his slaves rose up and killed him. People tell stories to explain why they won't go there, but they know they are just stories. Yet every month the town gets together and holds The Chase, a ritual older than anyone can remember. Despite their scant resources, local farmers donate two hogs, which are then decorated with garlands of flowers by local girls, taken across the river on the makeshift ferry and released. None is ever seen again.

Enter Frank Nichols, a wounded Great War veteran escaping a checkered past, who hopes that an inherited house might provide just the new start that he and his young 'wife', Eudora, need. While Eudora replaces Frank's deceased aunt as schoolteacher, Frank settles down to write a book about his grandfather, the aforementioned evil plantation owner. In his quest for understanding, he is drawn over the river in search of the ruined plantation. What he finds sends him scurrying back across the river, uncertain what exactly he encountered and whether he wants to share what he has seen with others.

As Frank and Eudora begin to adapt to life in Whitbrow, they are are invited to a townhall meeting to discuss whether or not to abandon The Chase. What they decide will change Whitbrow forever.
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