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Reviewed by Kim Anisi for Readers' Favorite
The setting of Hell Spring by Isaac Thorne is one that readers have often encountered before: a small American town with its usual mix of inhabitants. But that setting soon turns into a nightmare - at least for the handful of people who find themselves in the little local store during a powerful storm with so much rain that rivers swell and a bridge is washed away. Each of the characters within the store has something they are ashamed of or should be ashamed of in the eyes of others. There is a gay man who keeps his lover a secret and is haunted by the ghost of his judgmental mother. There is an abused woman with a young baby. She did what she had to do to survive. There is a man of the church who is breaking one of God's commandments. There are two teenagers who do what teenage boys do. And there is the owner of the shop who is less than happy about the events, especially when a naked stranger is rescued from outside - and the stranger looks all too familiar. It soon becomes clear that this alluring stranger has only one goal.
While Hell Spring by Isaac Thorne is not a short book, it felt like a short read because I finished it in just under two days and three longer reading sessions. It is a rather interesting story that mainly boils down to how the characters are described and how they interact. While it is a horror story with some gore and some not-so-appetizing moments that you do expect and want in a horror novel, it is also a character study, a look at society even though the events are set a few decades in the past. I was never sure how the story would end, and the end did surprise me - but also left me with questions, which is nothing unusual for horror novels. This is is a very well-done story. The author also seems to understand that editing and proofreading should not be neglected. It's always nice to read books without spelling and grammar mistakes. This novel is worth a read if you are looking for an entertaining horror novel.