The Beast of Rose Valley

Lorestalker #1

Fiction - Horror
224 Pages
Reviewed on 12/23/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

J.P. Barnett grew up in a tiny Texas town where the list of possible vocations failed to include published author. In second grade, he worked harder than any other student to deliver a story about a tiger cub who singlehandedly saved the U.S. Military, earning him a shiny gold star and a lifelong appreciation of telling a good story.

As a child, J.P. consumed any book he could get his hands on. The likes of Stephen King, Michael Crichton, and Dean Koontz paved the bookshelves of his childhood, providing a plethora of fantastical and terrifying tales that he read way too early in life. Though the effect these books had on his psyche could be called into question, these masters of storytelling managed to warp his mind in just the perfect way to spin a fun yarn or two.

J.P. currently resides in San Antonio with his wife and hellion of a cat, both of whom look at him dubiously with some frequency.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Jack Magnus for Readers' Favorite

The Beast of Rose Valley: Lorestalker #1 is a horror novel written by J.P. Barnett. Something was killing livestock in Rose Valley, Texas. Steve Witmer and his friend, Jake Rollins, were stunned and saddened at the sight of one of Steve’s lambs which had been savagely ripped in two. Sheriff Cam Donner actually considered briefly that the two of them had pulled this as some sort of deranged publicity stunt, but this was not the first such killing in the area. Donner wanted the matter dropped and forgotten, dismissed as the actions of coyotes or maybe even the cheetahs from the nearby animal reserve, but Jake and Steve knew no coyote or animal would have sufficient ability or inclination to rip a creature in two and leave it uneaten. The sheriff’s interest in keeping the matter under wraps was instantly thwarted, however, by the arrival of Shandi Mason, the local investigative journalist. Jake had made sure to send word to her before the sheriff locked it down. They all had history together, having grown up in Rose Valley, but Shandi had the rare ability to stand up to Cam Donner and actually win.

J.P. Barnett’s horror novel, The Beast of Rose Valley: Lorestalker #1, is a marvelous romp into the little-known world of cryptozoology as townspeople and a world-renowned cryptid hunter try to survive repeated encounters with a powerful and deadly creature. The author’s characters spring into being in that opening scene wherein childhood friends play very different roles as adults. I loved the rural setting with the town’s football games and the solidity of a place where everyone knows just about everyone else, and that bucolic ordinariness makes the bizarre aspects of the story work so very well. Barnett’s plot is clever and irresistible, and his book is a sheer pleasure to read. Horror, thriller and mystery fans alike will find much to their liking in this intriguing story about the unknown. The Beast of Rose Valley: Lorestalker #1 is most highly recommended.

K.J. Simmill

Some towns are built on secrets, and its people remain blissfully unaware of what has passed and the monsters forged by their actions. Rose Valley is no different. Time is meant to heal wounds but sometimes, if left untreated, wounds can fester. When a string of livestock killings escalates into sightings of a strange beast, Jake decides to investigate. The local sheriff is spinning a tale of coyotes, but only the naive would buy into such a tale. The truth is, this has happened before. Years ago a similar wave of killings occurred, only this time the pattern is escalating. Livestock aren't the only animals that should live in fear; humans are on its radar now, and they'd best beware.

The Beast of Rose Valley: Lorestalker #1 by J.P. Barnett reminded me of a cross between the old Friday night creature features and the TV series The Chronicle. I really enjoyed the initial slow pacing which allowed J.P. Barnett to set the scene for things to come, as well as giving us an insight into the integral characters' pasts; be they revealed directly through their story arc or as interactions with some of the supporting characters. The deep and evolving characters give the cast members a real feeling to them as they slowly change, not only as individuals, but as the relationships between them grow and alter as would be expected.

It was fun watching the characters dig through old articles and histories to connect past events to the current situation and try to understand its escalation. Intrigue, curiosity, surprises, and the depth of the plot will keep you on the edge of your seat, wondering if they will understand all they need to, and be able to use it in order to save those they care for. As the first book in the Lorestalker series, The Beast of Rose Valley certainly sets a high bar for those to follow, and I look forward to future adventures.

Lit Amri

A mysterious beast is causing havoc in the quiet ranching community of Rose Valley. Strange mutilations of some people's livestock and animals from a local wildlife reserve provide an opportunity for journalist Shandi Mason to investigate and give the small town paper a great article as well as justify her professionalism. Her old high school friend, Jake Rollins, who’s recovering from a terrible accident, is also on board. They soon discover that the beast had terrorized Rose Valley in the past, and someone has been keeping the terrible secret to themselves.

The Beast of Rose Valley (Lorestalker, Book 1) by J.P. Barnett combines the elements of mystery, horror, sci-fi, and suspense. A badly shredded lamb and a spunky journalist who doesn’t take no for an answer become the catalysts of an important investigation that will change the Rose Valley community forever. The well fleshed out characters are one of the strengths of the story. The relationships between the protagonists are deftly developed without overwhelming the intriguing pursuit of the elusive beast. The narrative is simple yet engaging and the gory scenes are not too extreme or disturbing. The pacing is good and, as the plot gradually unfolds, readers will find themselves eager to connect all the dots and make early assumptions as clues appear one after the other. On the whole, Barnett is a fluent storyteller and I found myself gripped to the last page. It’s a commendable start for the Lorestalker series that pays homage to classic monster stories. Barnett also includes a special sneak peek of Book 2 that will delight fans of the genre.