January 16, 2012

Indie Book Review: Dark Child by Kristy Leigh Conn!

A good merge of psychological horror
and gore!

So, after a few weeks of Christmas, a Happy New Year, recovering from two bruised ribs (don't ask) and writing a few short stories, I'm back on the blog.

Besides all the aforementioned, I also had the welcome opportunity of reading a new self-published book by writer Kristy Leigh Conn called Dark Child which kept me entertained during the long winter nights. It is set in the Appalachian area of West Virginia, USA and has a wonderful small-town feel to it. One of the protagonists is a veterinarian which quickly became one of my favorites.

The book centers around Billy Baker, a little boy who carries with him the horrible legacy of a demonic cult called the DemonSpawn. His mother Mandy was once a victim of the cult who, with the help of a detective called Frank, escaped and took on a new identity. Although the cult has been disbanded ever since, their presence still looms over Billy as he grows up, becoming ever darker, ever more real, ever more bloodier. And not just in the outside world, but inside Billy as well.

As the book goes on, the atmosphere gets grimier and darker as Billy is sucked into the cult's bloody ways. Especially the last part of the book is not for the faint-hearted and will leave many aghast with terror and sleepless nights. The reason why it works is that the book is primarily told from the viewpoint of other adults who each have their own reasoning about what the boy could or should be. As a reader you'll find yourself agreeing with each one of them as the boy grows up. Especially in the middle part of the book when the boy develops his own character, the line between good and evil becomes horribly blurred. This is all resolved again in the last part when the book spirals towards its inevitable conclusion.

For those of you who like psychological horror will be very intrigued by the first half of the book while the gore-ghouls will get all they can handle in the second half when Conn pulls out all the stops.

Kristy Leigh Conn herself works as a veterinarian and the medical jargon displayed in this book shows, although it never becomes 'showy'. On the contrary, it goes a tremendous way towards explaining the tendencies of good and evil in the human mind (from transferred genes to failing brain waves). Thus, it gives the book a feeling of being grounded in reality, rather than some supernatural explanation which requires a leap of faith on the part of the reader. 

Her writing career started with telling ghost stories around the camp fires, but took a backseat as she developed her career as a veterinarian. After writing prescriptions and hypotheses for twenty years, she once again took a stab at writing horror stories and since then has written dozens of short stories and finished her debut novel Dark Child. She is currently working on her novel about the downfall of man.

Dark Child is available as an e-book through Amazon.

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