When the Night Bells Ring

CamCat. Oct. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780744306118. $25.99. HORROR
Waynoka and Mads, “Dust Devils,” are traversing a near-future climate-disaster landscape in Nevada, searching for shelter and water in a barren desert when they stumble upon a Silver Rush–era ghost town. They explore an abandoned mine for a possible source of freshwater, but when Mads is badly injured on the descent, the two women are forced to shelter in a natural cave, where they discover the diary of Lavinia, a resident of the town back in 1869. What follows is a harrowing story of survival, told in two time frames—Waynoka as she searches the tunnels in an attempt to find both water and escape, and Lavinia’s diary entries, which unveil the monstrous truth hidden deep within the land itself. The constant unease of each story line is broken only for the brief second it takes to turn the page from one narration to the next, as the tension builds relentlessly until the novel’s shockingly horrific conclusion.
VERDICT Seamlessly blending Western, ancient evil, and climate horror tropes, Kaplan (It Will Just Be Us) has created an immersive, chilling, and compelling tale that fans of Christina Henry and Camilla Sten will devour.
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