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Reviewed by Arya Fomonyuy for Readers' Favorite
Depravity by Emilie J. Howard is a sensational story that explores the life of a farming community and the intangible threads that keep the people in the community together, its pulse, fears, and struggle to survive against impossible odds. Set in the late 1970s, this book explores crime, community life, and a haven turned into a quagmire of blood. The small town of Lehem, short for Bethlehem, has survived on the farm — a self-contained city — until a visitor arrives and then another, and then the members of the community start discovering slaughtered livestock and humans. But when Peter Carston is attacked, the town steps up in defense. The sheriff and his team work hard to catch the perpetrators of the murders, but what they experience is a cycle of crime. Read on to discover the mystery about this town, the fight to protect what belongs to its inhabitants, and the surprises that crop up as the story unfolds.
Emilie J. Howard’s novel scores great success at different levels: the author's craft is well-honed and readers will love the well-measured balance between plot, setting and character. It is an undeniable fact that Howard has an exceptional gift for setting, creating beautiful landscapes and images for readers to inhabit. From the very beginning of the story, the reader is teased with a brilliant introduction into the setting, an intro that makes the reader want to discover more about this town. A small town, but things that happen in it will get the reader intrigued, involved, and completely absorbed as they follow the characters in search of answers. Great writing, excellent pacing, and gorgeous characters! I couldn’t put it down. Depravity so much reminded me of my own little hamlet, hidden in the undulating knolls of Kinja.