Last year, I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing author John Everson’s book VIOLET EYES (click here to read the review). I said in my review, “I absolutely loved this book and am proud to boast that it has moved into my Top 5 Horror Novels of 2013”. Well, here we are, a year later, and I’m proud to say Everson has published yet another horror masterpiece that is in my top five for this year. A haunting and original book, THE FAMILY TREE is a creepy tale of family heritage and devotion that you won’t soon forget.
If you are not familiar with THE FAMILY TREE, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Samhain Publishing:
The blood of the tree is its sap. It has sustained Scott Belvedere’s family for generations. It’s the secret ingredient behind the family’s intoxicating ale and bourbon, among other elixirs. But only when Scott inherits The Family Tree Inn, deep in the hills of Virginia, does he learn anything about his family, its symbiotic history, or the mammoth, ancient tree around which the inn is literally built. And after he stumbles upon the bony secrets hidden in its roots, while in the welcoming arms of the innkeeper’s daughter, he realizes that not only is blood thicker than water—it’s the only thing that might save him from the hideous fate of his ancestors…
As I’ve said about Brian Moreland and Hunter Shea, I would love to also dig around in Everson’s mind to see where he gets his ideas. The concept behind this book is very unique, and I am very interested to find out where it came from.
THE FAMILY TREE is written well and moves with a smooth, fluid fashion. The story is intriguing and keeps you curious about what happens next as the plot unfolds. Once I started reading this book, I found it very hard to put down. As such, I finished it in only two days.
The characters are vivid and real. Everson does a great job of fleshing them out in detail, even going so far as to write in dialogue with the down-home dialect of true Virginians. I always enjoy when a writer can inject a nice dose of realism with true-to-region accents; Everson nails this backwoodsy, almost Southern local speech right on the head.
But the story itself is the big winner for me with THE FAMILY TREE. I greatly enjoyed its originality, along with the mythology that is created for it. The mystery of the plot unfolds with masterful precision, and the horror it presents will make you question the dedication you have to your own family.
THE FAMILY TREE is a major win for me, and I highly recommend it. I can’t wait to see what Everson does next, but chances are he will continue to impress. Samhain has a true talent on their hands with this author. Give him and this book a look at all costs. It is available now in a variety of formats.