"You don't go alone into Mad River Mountain" ... Everything would be okay in the country, thought April Bernard, in her new summer home.Here her children would be happy and safe, and she could spend time with the man who had saved her life and given her love. Here she could further her career by researching a clan of remote inbred hill people, living in their own isolated world. She had nothing to fear in Mad River Mountain... Nothing, that is, until the creatures she was studying strayed from the dark woods. Horrible beings with stunted bodies, pumpkin faces, deformed in flesh with a thirst for hot blood. Tourist season is over, hunting season has begun...~An incredibly original and terrifying book - be prepared to lose some sleep over this one.
Rather than the expected frisson of horror fiction, Coyne gives fans a novel with artificial crises and characters about whom he seems ambivalent, judging by their inconsistent behavior. The locale is a remote place in the Catskills where the natives are monstrously deformed after centuries of incestuous mating. They are the objects of research by anthropologist April Benard, who arrives from Manhattan with her husband Marshall and their offspring from earlier marriages. Supposedly the husband and wife are deeply in love but Marshall goes after women among the other estivating New Yorkers. As for April, she competes with her adolescent stepdaughter for attention from the Benards' handyman, lusty Luke. Switching among scenes of attempted rape, mutilation and murder, the story limps to a finale where April fights attacking "inbreds," led by their newly discovered kinsman.
I was looking for a horror story to read because I haven't read one for awhile and decided to read this one. I must say that it is pretty scary but the proper thing to say about this book is that it is a pretty sick story. The writing is good and the characters are interesting but the strange pumpkin-head people living in the Catskill mountains are very scary. Don't know if I'll read another book by John Coyne, maybe at Halloween. If you like scary stories, then I suggest you try this one. But, just remember, I told you it was strange.