Matt Query & Harrison Query (Hachette Australia: Hodder & Stoughton) 2022, 341pp, RRP $32.99 (paperback); $45.00 (hardback); $39.99 (audiobook)

The Query brothers’ book initially began life on Reddit before becoming this début novel, a creepy character drama with folk horror edges and, at times, a powerfully uncanny atmosphere.

Marrieds Sasha and Harry somewhat improbably buy a sprawling homestead in rural Idaho with the expected hopes of doing it up. Sasha is sick of the corporate life and Harry’s haunted by memories of his experiences as a Marine rifleman, and each believe that getting away from it all with be good for them. Oops.

Moving in with their faithful dog (of course), they’re approached by their friendly neighbours and warned about a particular ritual that must be performed if an eerie light appears in their pond, and they respond by throwing them out and rejecting the whole idea of the supernatural. When the light naturally does indeed appear, Sasha and Harry are shocked, and when they mention it to their neighbours, they’re then informed that the paranormal events change with the season and must be treated with the utmost respect. Oh, and they’re now trapped there for life.

With a careful pace that allows for periods of real fear, the Querys successfully manage to depict how exactly modern people (complete with TVs, an internet connection, mobile phones and more) might attempt to deal with an age-old, easily offended evil.

And the only question that remains is: how could something so impressive have anything to do with bloody Reddit?

Dave Bradley

This title is available through the Hachette Australia website. Click HERE to purchase your copy.

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