Book Review: Those Who Follow By Michelle Garza and Melissa Lason

“For those readers looking to be thrilled, compelled to turn page after page and to have their stomachs turned inside out by horror in the very truest sense of the word, Those Who Follow may be exactly what they are looking for.”

 

 

Those Who Follow is a rip-roaring thrill ride of a horror story, taking place between two worlds located in and around the Arizona desert. The story begins with a harrowing scene from a mental institution and the birth of twin girls who, as the story unfolds, come to be caught up in different, but equally terrifying situations.

Casey is a young woman, institutionalised within a mental health facility for her own safety. She experiences episodes which involve violence, vivid dreams and the recurring presence of a mysterious children’s song which she cannot place. When these episodes come to a head, resulting in her exhibiting signs of self harm, only one member of staff offers to help her when everyone else simply wants to tie her down and medicate her into a vegetative state.

Meanwhile Celia is a drifter, mixed up in a lifestyle of drugs and booze on the open road, until she hitches a ride from a kindly seeming older man, Byron. He takes her to his church where she becomes his prisoner, along with a number of other women who have been held there for a long time, exposed to unspeakable cruelty and torture. The church that is their prison stays hidden because it is in the ‘other’ world, to which only a chosen few can travel.

Those Who Follow moves at a furious pace from beginning to end, with short chapters that mean the reader can easily get through it in a couple of sessions. The action is relentless at times and some of the depictions of violence are vivid and disturbing. This only causes the reader to feel the jeopardy in which the characters find themselves and to appreciate just what kind of monster the antagonist, Byron, is. The story regularly changes viewpoint, but in an effective way, allowing the reader to have a sense of the simultaneous peril in which the two protagonists find themselves. Indeed, at various intervals, there are sections set in the past which allow the reader a better understanding of how the two women found themselves in such predicaments. The conclusion of the story, while somewhat predictable, is satisfying and ties together all the loose ends of what is a complex novel.

For readers looking to be thrilled, compelled to turn page after page and to have their stomachs turned inside out by horror in the very truest sense of the word, Those Who Follow may be exactly what they are looking for.

KEV HARRISON

Publisher: Bloodshot Books
Paperback (204pp)
Release Date: 28 July 2017

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