The Curse of Crow Hollow
author : billy coffey
pages : [paperback] 416
With the “profound sense of Southern spirituality” he is known for (Publishers Weekly), Billy Coffey draws us into a town where good and evil—and myth and reality—intertwine in unexpected ways.
Everyone in Crow Hollow knows of Alvaretta Graves, the old widow who lives in the mountain. Many call her a witch; others whisper she’s insane. Everyone agrees the vengeance Alvaretta swore at her husband’s death hovers over them all. That vengeance awakens when teenagers stumble upon Alvaretta’s cabin, incurring her curse. Now a sickness moves through the Hollow. Rumors swirl that Stu Graves has risen for revenge. And the people of Crow Hollow are left to confront not only the darkness that lives on the mountain, but the darkness that lives within themselves.
The Curse of Crow Hollow was such an interesting concept. In the end, though, it just ended up being a disappointment that I wish I’d DNF’d halfway through. Although there are creepy parts to this story, a lot of it ended up being fairly predictable.
Crow Hollow is the kind of town where everyone knows everyone else. They all go to church, twice Sunday and usually every Wednesday too. Gossip is the best form of entertainment. Maybe the safest. Because everything starts to fall apart in Crow Hollow when four teens decide to spend a night camping by the abandoned mines. A witch lives out in those parts–one who curses them when they’re led to her land by a trail of strange, almost horseshoe like prints.
The book starts out like it’s going to be a spooky paranormal read. There are the tales about something terrible living in or around the mines, the witch, the curse. I was really excited to read more when the curse first struck at church the morning after the teens’ sleepover. But everything afterward was a little bit of a letdown. The book tries to do something cool, making everything believably a curse while simultaneously making you think that the town is just crazy and essentially under some mass delusion that is really why the curse is escalating. But once you need to think that everything that happens will also be within the general realm of possibility, it all gets to be so predictable. And the hints that the narrator drops throughout the book–like that death is coming or that certain characters “won’t live to see the next day”–doesn’t end up building suspense. It just made me wonder why they would mention such a thing hundreds of pages before it would eventually happen.
The conclusion to the book wasn’t as exciting as I’d hoped it would be, either. There was a little intrigue as the narrator to the book is finally revealed, because the book is set up like someone is telling an outsider to the town all that has happened there. Everything else was just . . . not satisfying enough because it was something you could see coming before the book was halfway over.
I really wanted to like this book. It seemed like it was going to have a lot of creepy, mysterious, and possibly horror-movie quality elements to it. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this one.