This Wretched Valley

Blackstone Audio. Jan. 2024. 8:32 hrs. ISBN 9798212536820. $19.95. HORROR
Kiefer’s suspenseful debut takes listeners on a horror-filled journey of survival in the Kentucky woods. When geology graduate student Clay discovers a pristine, untouched cliff face in the Kentucky wilderness, his friend Dylan, an avid climber, intends to be the first to make it to the top. Together with Clay’s research assistant, Sylvia, Dylan’s boyfriend, Luke, and Luke’s dog, the group sets out for the woods. They plan on documenting every step of their trip. Seven months later, three bodies are found in the forest, all in various states of decay—missing eyes, tongues, and other body parts tell of their gruesome end. Out of the four friends, only Dylan is missing, and it’s unclear whether she’s dead or alive. Megan Tusing narrates the group, capturing their youthful enthusiasm, which quickly morphs into desperation and panic. As the story jumps through time from one perspective to another, listeners will hear unsettling tales about past doomed expeditions. Kiefer weaves real horrors with the supernatural, leaving listeners to squirm as she explores the unease of this gory landscape.
VERDICT A fast-paced, dread-filled survival tale, perfect for fans of Scott Smith’s The Ruins.
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