BETHANY'S SIN Paperback – 1 Oct 1988
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Top Customer Reviews
It's a good old fashioned horror plot - couple with small child think they've found paradise when they move to a lovely small town with friendly neighbours but of course things are never quite what they seem. I was reminded very much of Thomas Tryon's 'Harvest Home' which has similar themes.
The build up is good, and there are some truly eerie moments but as the novel progressed I began to find the hero a bit irritating - he seems determined to put himself in danger when any sane person would just grab the wife and kid (or maybe just the kid) and get the hell out. The denouement is exciting enough but I felt a little bit cheated when it ended - I expected something more, maybe just a hint to send me away wondering.
Still well worth downloading if you've never read it before - a good classic horror novel just like they used to write in the 80s/90s. Just not up to his usual standard.
This was one of McCammon's earlier novels and whilst the storyline is strong and out of the ordinary some of the characterisation leaves something to be desired particularly the main protagonists who develop less well than some of the secondary characters. The central character is a mentally disturbed Vietnam veteran who is haunted by dreams and self doubts particularly as his wife refuses to understand his fears, subsequently when something terrible begins to emerge to spoil their idyllic lifestyle he has a difficult time being decisive until almost too late.
Got all those elements most horror readers like; an all American family, a picturesque small town, creepy towns folk and
Robert R. McCammon
is One of his best of the early novels, next was his early great 1970's vampire classic 'They Thirst' . Then his masterpiece, the unforgettable 'Swan Song'. I want a follow up to They Thirst.
Evan Reid, his wife Kay, and their young daughter Laurie move to the titular village of Bethany's Sin. Hardly have they set foot in the door, however, than Evan begins to have nightmares which he deems portentious. His rather annoying wife is rather unsympathetic in that everytime he has one of these "visions" she refduses to listen and insists that Evan's delusions are giving her headaches. Right, thanks for that! And so the story progresses and we learn about the power of the village women over the menfolk, and the best character, the drifter Neely Ames, is introduced. In my opinion, Neely is a far more likeable charecter than Evan, and it might have been a better novel had the book been centred on him instead. There are several rather irritating devices that McCammon uses which would have been better left out, such as the thrice-repeated words which end many a sentence. Also, the main protagonist, Evan, is an idiot! Towards the end of the novel he has ample time and opportunity to act on his very strong suspicions, and yet he would rather do precisely the opposite and endanger his wife by putting her directly in the hands of the people he is terrified of: this is a terrible way in which to create tension, and the ending of the book absolutely beggars belief, with fires a-raging and all Hell let loose as if Evan had suddenly become the star of Die Hard.
So, sadly only three stars, but having said that, had it not been for my soft spot for the book, I may well have given it only two.