As I finished the latest novel from Billy Coffey, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, I remember what he told me when I interviewed him on what the reader would find in this one. He told me it will be much darker. And it is. Much darker!
To those of you that are looking for a happy story of some facet of Billy's walk in life, this is NOT that novel. Ir reminds me in fact of the opening line that Jude Law narrates for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, "Dear reader, there are people in the world who know no misery and woe. And they take comfort in cheerful films about twittering birds and giggling elves. There are people who know that there's always a mystery to be solved. And they take comfort in researching and writing down any important evidence. But this story is not about such people.The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two."
This novel is actually the prequel to Billy's third novel, When Mockingbird Sings. I've been a huge fan of Billy's since the days I first came across his stories on his Blog, "What I Learned Today", and fell in love with his uncanny abililty to do more than just tell a great story. He makes it come alive and makes you part of the action. I wanted to run ahead and read The Devil Walks in Mattingly as fast as possible, because you will always come away changed after reading ANY of his books. This one was NO different, however much like a race horse yearning to run ahead at the start of the gun, this one held me back restrained. No matter how much I wanted to run ahead, this one made me go slow. To say this novel is deep and dark, is an understatement. I believe it's Billy's finest examples of just how versatile of a writer he truly is.
I liken this novel to something a bit of a blend between Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and M. Night Shyalmalan's Sixth Sense. This is about what we all face when dealing with the guilt of sin in our lives. Especially in this case where the murder of a young boy, Phillip McBride that happened twenty years ago, is now being felt in the town of Mattingly, Virginia by those with guilty consciences, the local sheriff, Jake Barnett, his wife, Kate, and the recluse that lives in Happy Hollow, Taylor Hathcock. Each of them believes that they have had a hand in the murder of Phillip and each have found a coping method that is slowly unraveling at the seams.
For Jake, he is trying to avoid confrontation at all costs in his job as Mattingly's sheriff, including the apprehension of his own father, Justus wanted for the murder of three men. Jake is haunted by nightmares of that fateful day by Phillip to deprives him not only of sleep but in moving forward in his life. Phillip is the spectre with a warning that he is coming back for him and Kate, and no one will escape. But is it really happening or it just the over active imagination of a guilty conscience?
Kate is stuck making amends for her guilt, one I related to the most. She keeps a notebook of all the young people she has helped to atone for her sin. She is hoping one day, she will achieved enough good deeds to make up for the one she can't apologize for and for the innocent loss of life she claimed that day when her prank took an unexpected turn on the last day of high school.
For Taylor, he spends his days waiting for just the right moment to "wake" them all up. He suffers from a mental snap and believes that the life his is living is merely a dream and that he is the only one who can help them all. He cautiously spies upon the sleepy residents of Mattingly knowing that the day is close at hand. The one event that brings things to life is the day footprints appear in the Hollow from a protective grove that Taylor is the keeper of, that lead back to Mattingly and back to her. Now he just needs to find the clues to piece it all together, but this will also bring to the town of Mattingly, an evil they have never experienced before and one that will forever change the town.
I received The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey, compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Litfuse Publicity for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own, unless otherwise noted. This is a novel that showcases much more than a well written story. It shows how far guilt can carry us if we allow it to fester unresolved. It also teaches us the power of forgiveness. People often say that forgiveness is for others, but I beg to differ, it is for us that have been wronged instead. There is freedom in being able to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter what has happened. Those who can't are likely Jake, Kate and Taylor who are stuck feeling justified in keeping those feelings locked inside, and thus become more trapped and tormented than anyone should ever have to. By the time, you get to the end of this one, you will understand what grace truly is and how much freedom there is in forgiveness before you can ever move forward. In my opinion, by far, Billy's finest novel to date. There is such maturity in his writing this novel that is unparallelled in anything I have read and thus the reason for my 5 out of 5 stars. Looking forward to going even deeper Billy!
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Billy Coffey is celebrating his new book, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, with a Kindle Fire HDX giveaway.
One winner will receive:
- A Kindle Fire HDX
- The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey
Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 5th. Winner will be announced April 7th on Billy's blog. Watch Billy give the backstory of the book here.
Don't miss a moment of the fun; enter today and be sure to stop by Billy's blog on April 7th to see if you won.