Down the Well

Fiction - Thriller - Psychological
306 Pages
Reviewed on 09/20/2023
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

Joseph Blackhurst received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School. He practices law in Chicago, Illinois, where he specializes in high-profile government investigations.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Rabia Tanveer for Readers' Favorite

Down the Well by Joseph Blackhurst is a psychological thriller/ horror novel that will stun you with its plot and vivid imagery. It was the tail end of 2017 when two hunters came across something horrific in Appalachian Kentucky: a whole town buried under rubble. Dubbed the Carrington Tragedy, the scene horrified and baffled the whole community, but nothing disturbed them more than the diary found among the bodies and rubble. Written in a way that drove a reader insane, lawyer Joe Blackhurst was given the task of translating it because he was immune to its effects. As Joe started to decode the mystery with his partner Shar Ayubbi, more and more sinister revelations stunned him to his core. The writer was a lawyer named Richard Maltessouri, who obviously suffered from a mental illness. All Joe could do was trace the people mentioned and find a solution that way. But was it possible to find a man like Richard, or was he a figment of the author’s imagination?

Down the Well is the best novel I have read this year and I don’t think any novel will be able to top it. The mystery was intricate; it had layers that peeled away as Joe uncovered more and more secrets from each of the canvases. The narrative was fragmented in the best way possible. Author Joseph Blackhurst masterfully flipped between the canvases to Joe’s notes and investigation. The story was surprisingly easy to read and flowed incredibly well. I felt a rush of excitement every time I started a new chapter and found something new in the Carrington Tragedy. The pace was perfect, and the characters were highlighted well. The story will surprise you and give you an adrenaline rush at the same time. The author reminded me of Dan Brown, yet somehow, his writing style was more unique than Brown’s. I highly recommend this novel!

K.C. Finn

Down the Well is a work of fiction in the psychological thriller, epistolary novel, and mystery subgenres. It is best suited to mature readers owing to its disturbing themes and adult references, and it was penned by author Joseph Blackhurst. This unique work presents a chilling mystery surrounding a rural Kentucky town's tragic fate. A landslide in 2017 revealed a town buried with its inhabitants having ingested mounds of soil. Unearthed among the corpses is a diary that hints at a deliberate massacre. However, anyone who reads the diary succumbs to madness. The book compiles the diary's transcript and lawyer Joseph Blackhurst's notes from his investigation in Kentucky alongside fellow attorney Sahar Ayubbi. As they delve into the case, they uncover unsettling possibilities of a supernatural nature.

Author and central investigator Joseph Blackhurst has crafted an intense experience as the narrative seamlessly intertwines suspense, horror, and the supernatural, blurring the lines of reality and fiction even on the most meta-levels. The format, including the diary transcript and the lawyers' notes, adds depth to the story's immersion, making us, the reader, an active participant in the story as we join the team of exploration and discovery. The mounting tension and the eerie atmosphere are masterfully crafted, and the use of multiple information sources throughout the documentation keeps readers engaged. The tale grips you with its unsettling revelations and a growing sense of dread as the truth is unveiled. Blackhurst's writing pulls you into the dark and mysterious world he's created, leaving a haunting impact that lingers long after the final page. Overall, I would not hesitate to recommend Down the Well for mystery and crime fans everywhere seeking something truly unique.

Alma Boucher

Down the Well is a brilliant psychological thriller by Joseph Blackhurst. A horrific scene was discovered by a pair of hunters in December 2017. A diary was found buried with corpses and rubble from an unknown town in Kentucky. The diary had been handwritten by Richard Maltessouri on over thirty-three canvasses. The first attempt at a complete transcription had ended in tragedy, and Maltessouri’s account of the events could be the cause. According to Dr. Milsap, the town was destroyed by a flash flood, and the diary was buried later by somebody at the site. Attorney Joseph Blackhurst and fellow attorney Sahar Ayubbi are sent to interview witnesses. There was also no record of Richard Maltessouri and Joseph and Sahar must find him. Joseph spent every spare minute transcribing the diary.

Down the Well was intriguing and compelling. Joseph Blackhurst planned and executed an extraordinary plot. I was hooked from the start. The mystery of the little Kentucky town kept me on the edge of my seat. It was a page-turner, and I could not put it down. The characters were authentic, and I could relate to them. My favorites were Joseph and Sam. There was a connection between the two from the beginning. Blackhurst has an interesting and unusual writing style. It was a pure pleasure to read a book written in a completely different way than usual. It was an excellent thriller and much more than I expected. The story made a big impression on me, and I will think about it for a long time to come.

Courtnee Turner Hoyle

In Joseph Blackhurst’s book, Down the Well, lawyers rush to solve the mystery behind a mass of bodies found in a well. Their only clue to the “mass genocide” is a set of canvases with mysterious writing. The “tint” in which the information is written is like no other substance known to man. It drives the readers mad unless they are colorblind, but reading the canvases is necessary to locate the author of the pieces and affirm the theory of a flash flood. As a colorblind attorney attempts to transcribe the remaining canvases, more of the mystery is revealed, but the truth may be so bizarre and horrifying that it will test the limits of human comprehension.

Joseph Blackhurst has written a mystery that will astound anyone brave enough to finish the book. The tale is narrated by a colorblind attorney who explains more than one man’s descent into madness. Each canvas reveals a clue and references an unidentified baby, but readers will be shocked by the events and turns throughout the story. The twisted results of a dying wish are manifested into a disastrous outcome that will have readers biting their fingernails as they read the latter half of the story. The author brings the reader within inches of resolution before pulling away and revealing more pertinent clues. The book is dark in nature, with a secondary mystery and hints of magical realism. Down the Well is great for readers who enjoy twisted psychological suspense and mysteries.

Pikasho Deka

Down the Well is a psychological thriller by Joseph Blackhurst. In the story, Joseph Blackhurst is a lawyer tasked with investigating the truth behind the horrifying genocide of a town of inhabitants in Kentucky whose bodies were found buried by two hunters in 2017. Accompanying him on this mission is his colleague Sahar Ayubbi. Joe and Sahar must try to decipher the thirty-three canvasses by Richie Maltessouri, a man with no other record. Obscure as they are, the canvasses may contain the answers. But it also mentions names of individuals who have no recollection of Richie, including Sahar. As Joe delves deep into the case, he comes across a mysterious substance called "Tint" and begins having doubts over who he can trust. Will the truth come to light? Or will Joe lose himself searching for answers?

This is one of the most immersive thrillers I've read this year. Down the Well is an absolute belter of a novel from start to finish. Joseph Blackhurst uses a meta-narrative style to weave a captivating tale immersed in mystery, horror, magical realism, and pulsating thrills that won't let you put the book down for a second. At times, the story feels so surreal that you may have difficulty figuring out if it's real or just the ramblings of a madman (the narrator). But the plot threads come together seamlessly near the end like the perfect jigsaw puzzle, taking you by surprise at every step. I had a blast with Down the Well, and if you enjoy unpredictable thrillers with nonlinear narrative structures, I highly recommend this book.