It is rare that I give a horror novel 5 stars, but then again it is rare that a horror novel evokes a sense of disturbed creepiness in me. I won't say that it "scared me" but it did keep me engaged from beginning to end, and for some reason this book came across as more plausible than many of the other supernatural horrors that I have read. It could be that it is a Christian based horror; I don't know that an atheist would find this as creepy as I did.
Short Summary - Tower Hill is a tiny town that hasn't change for decades, housing a large church, a small university and a very small town population. Two not so nice individuals (one is a depraved serial killer) have followed a series of riddles and clues to find their way to Tower Hill where they discover two religious artifacts hidden... and the rituals required giving them the power of God, but it requires the help of the townspeople. Two college students and a police deputy find themselves in a bizarre situation as suddenly the sleepy little town becomes host to a series of murders and mutilations, and the townspeople suddenly aren't acting the way they should.
Pinborough's characters are very real and conflicted. Almost equal time is spent between our four "good guys" and our two "bad guys" and as the reader you get a bit of a sense as to how this can play out, however nothing is spoon-fed to you. I appreciate the intelligence of her horror, the concept of biblical power in the wrong hands is believable to me (I mean Hitler was hunting for religious artifacts from all religions) and although at first it seems a bit strange that religious items of this magnitude would be hidden in "the new world" Pinborough does an excellent job of connecting all of the dots for us without breaking down into pages of exposition. Though there is one element of the story that didn't make a whole lot of sense and was never truly explained I'll forgive her for that because I enjoyed the rest of the book so much (for those of you who have read the book - the item in the town drunk's pocket really has no explanation at all, it is to that which I am referring).
This book takes on a very creepy vibe right from the beginning and you can feel your mind thinking "no, don't do that!" as you read what the characters are doing, because they are so real, you genuinely want them to make it out of this okay. As with any good horror, not all of them do (I hate the ride off into the sunset endings of many horror novels). The resolution is what is expected, and the story maintains its level of creepiness throughout. This is only the second of Pinborough's novels that I have read, and I have to admit that I like her sense of mood, and her ability to maintain it from beginning to end. There is some gore in this book, and a bit of sex, but what keeps this book moving is the characters and the overall sense of panic that the reader develops. If this were a movie, you wouldn't be able to keep yourself from yelling at the screen "NO, don't eat that!" "Don't go in there!" or "Dear god, don't trust HIM!!!" the fact that this book made me feel that way is what bumped this up to a 5 star book, even though it had some flaws.
This will probably not be for everyone, and may be scarier to Christians than non-Christians who may find this to be a load of garbage. This doesn't require a lot of Biblical knowledge to enjoy; most of us are at least familiar enough with the beginning of Genesis to comprehend what is going on. I really enjoyed this book and hope that you do too!