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The Ridge    by Michael Koryta order for
by Michael Koryta
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2012 (2012)
Hardcover, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Ricki Marking-Camuto

Michael Koryta really knows how to do good classic horror. The Ridge is a fine example of the genre with plenty of suspense and chills that keep the reader on the edge of their seat the whole way through.

A few years ago, Chief Deputy Kevin Kimble was shot while responding to a domestic disturbance. Knowing that his shooter, Jacqueline Mathis, was not in her right mind, he consistently visits her in prison, hoping that the events of that night will come to her.

On his way there one morning, he receives a cryptic call from Wyatt French, the local drunk who lives in a lighthouse he built on Blade Ridge, a wild stretch of road with no body of water bigger than a river in sight. Wyatt asks him if he would rather investigate a homicide or a suicide. Kimble gives him the answer, never suspecting that Wyatt will take his own life.

While investigating Wyatt's death with the help of retired reporter Roy Darmus, Kimble finds a connection between Wyatt and Jacqueline, but it is so preposterous that Kimble does not want to share his findings with anyone. But his life and the lives of the other inhabitants of Blade Ridge, a wild cat sanctuary, are at risk is he is unable to stop the man who has been haunting the ridge for over a hundred years.

The Ridge has the feel of a good Southern devil folktale, but set in modern times. Koryta starts the novel with an intriguing premise, but slowly builds suspense with hints of the supernatural along the way. By the time Kimble makes his stunning discovery, the reader is ready to fully buy into the story, and the rest of the novel rushes by at breakneck speed.

Aside from a compelling story, Koryta crafts well-developed characters. All of them are flawed, making them seem incredibly human. They also keep you guessing as to what they will do, especially Kimble who makes some choices that lead to surprising twists.

While this is obviously a fictional tale, Michael Koryta's writing style makes it seem like The Ridge really could have happened and this is what makes a great horror story. If you are a horror fan and have not tried Koryta, I strongly suggest picking up The Ridge today.

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