Friday, September 21, 2012

The Hidden Valley by Leigh M Lane

The Hidden Valley
Leigh M Lane

  • File Size: 357 KB
  • Print Length: 310 pages
  • Publisher: Cerebral Books (August 2, 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B008S6KDQY


Leigh sent me an email and asked if I could review her latest book, having read and reviewed her others, I was keen to delve into this tale. It's an interesting experiment: A collection of flash stories grouped together to form a whole. 

As with Leigh's work, she seems to like to experiment with her style but one thing remains constant, her story telling skills are always present. And some of scenes in The Hidden Valley are a tad mind blowing (in a good way), I won't say what they are as this reviewer never gives anything away. I don't want to spoil your surprise. 

So what do we have here? In this tale, Leigh has spun a yarn of a family on the brink (or tipping edge) of destruction. The wife (Carrie) has had an affair, the daughter (Jane) has major demons, the son, John is a stoner and was getting into some major trouble and the husband Grant is losing everything he built yet desperate to keep his family as a whole unit and struggling to find the man he was before his wife's threesome. 

So they pack up everything, including the cat and move from Vegas to a small town on the other side of a fog covered mountain. But there's something in the fog. The cat senses the bad thing and tries to communicate this to the owners. Naturally they can't understand his whining and once at their new house, he takes off. I enjoyed Maxwell's (the cat) adventures the most. 

The book is told from five points of view and I feel all these povs are needed to get the full picture. It is a massive story which a host of sub-characters like the Rock Lady, the pregnant girl, the hippy and people who literally vanish from existence never to be mentioned again--as if they'd never been there. 

Leigh's writing is crisp as always and her characters (apart from the parents) are very well drawn. I'm sure I know John and his stoner buddies and Jane is also a person I may have passed in the street. 

Overall, as a novel of horror, it is excellent. As a collection of flash tales combined to make a whole, not so well done. Flash stories must have a beginning, a middle and an end. Several of these did not have an end. As standalone flash tales, a few fail. BUT as a whole novel, the concept works well. 

4 stars