This Wretched Valley

Quirk. Jan. 2024. 304p. ISBN 9781683693680. pap. $18.99. HORROR
DEBUT In March of 2019, four twentysomethings enter the Kentucky woods on a mission to find a never-before-discovered, let alone scaled, rock formation. Two of them are scientists eager to study the flora and geology of this unmapped region for their graduate work, while the other two consist of a rising star in the rock-climbing world and her boyfriend. However, from the first lines, readers know this story ends with all four dead. Told from the point of view of each doomed character and with timeframes alternating between the past and present, the book is brilliantly crafted, with both vivid characters and a visceral sense of place, a landscape rooted in evil with a long history of a thirst for human blood. An unputdownable and realistic example of survival horror at its best, marked by an unrelenting tension that methodically increases. This is a story that will haunt readers.
VERDICT A terrifying debut, rendered with the intensity and skill of Scott Smith’s cult favorite The Ruins and touches of The Hunger by Alma Katsu and Echo by Thomas Olde Heuvelt. The novel announces Kiefer’s intentions to boldly begin her climb to the top of the genre.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing