McFall by Scott Nicholson

by Scott Nicholson
421 Pages
Published by 47North, September 3, 2013 
Genre: Horror

When wealthy developer Larkin McFall moves to the small Appalachian Mountain community of Barkersville, generations-old tales of supernatural phenomena, sudden deaths, and odd disappearances resurface. Larkin laughs off the stories as superstition, while promising to bring a bright new future to the dying town.

Sheriff Frank Littlefield senses a diabolical motive in McFall’s good intentions. High school friends Bobby Eldreth and Ronnie Day also suspect that an evil menace has invaded Barkersville, but both soon fall under McFall’s spell. Has the sinister presence that once infiltrated the abandoned—perhaps haunted—red church spread to the community as McFall turns the family property into a luxurious subdivision?

When those who oppose Larkin McFall’s ambitions begin to die horrifically—or even worse, become the man’s biggest supporters—Sheriff Littlefield’s investigation uncovers a man with no past and no fingerprints.

A man who destroys people by giving them exactly what they want.

"Scott Nicholson returns to the Blue Ridge Mountain legends and setting of his bestselling thrillers, The Red Church and Drummer Boy."

In the Appalachian town of Barkersville, a mysterious man with red eyes shows up. A town where the dead don't always stay dead, the community has barely gotten over the horrific events the McFall family brought upon them five years ago. McFall is a not so classic tale of good versus evil. Larkin McFall wants to give the people what they want, but at what expense? What's the going rate for a soul nowadays?

McFall was my first peek into Nicholson's work. I was apprehensive at having not read The Red Church or Drummer Boy prior to McFall. However, my only disappointment was that I read them out of sequence. McFall was a great standalone read, and while his previous works have definitely made it to my future list of reads, I didn't feel it was necessary to read them in order to understand this one.

Outside of my normal genre, McFall had me intrigued and wanting more in the first few pages. Originally released as a Kindle serial, the book is now complete and available as a whole. Nicholson uses a good portion of the book to build believable characters and settings. Usually, I would balk at the lack of action but he did such a fantastic job of setting the stage. My only wish is that Nicholson would have given us more details about McFall; what he was, what led him to town, his ultimate end-game. With all the time devoted to character development, Larkin McFall felt underdeveloped. Of course, this could have been intentional to leave readers continually questioning his motives.

Ronnie Day, now eighteen was the standout character for me. Clearly damaged from his past, he battles inwardly to maintain his faith and be the "good" that stands up to evil as the townsfolk give into temptation one by one. This poor kid always seemed to be in the wrong place at all the wrong times.

I remain on the fence about the choice of titling the book McFall. Being my first foray into the series, I originally thought it was going to be the name of a town. The focus seems to be less about McFall and more about other characters and Barkersville itself. That being said, I enjoyed the book. While it wasn't non-stop action, the mystery of it all kept me interested from start to finish and I'm hoping to see more of these characters in the future. I definitely recommend McFall to readers who enjoy Stephen Kings eerie work, and appreciate Nicholson finding The Bookie Monster and sharing this great read with me.

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