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I have just read Joe Donnelly's masterful horror story Dark Valley. I normally don't find many works of fiction in that genre believable, and Stephen King himself has stretched my credulity on occasions. But right from the first awful scenes of terror I was hooked...and found myself putting on house lights in the middle of the night as my heart pounded faster with every spine-chilling word. Joe's story is of five young school pals who go off on a summer camping trip to a desolate no-man's land in the wake of several heinous murders in their small Scottish town. Their friendship is punctuated with the bitter-sweet banter of boys that age...still not quite men, but not innocents either. Enveloping this expedition of adventure for the youngsters, is the psychotic presence of an unseen stranger. While the boys' pursuits of exploring, camping, cooking and fishing project some normality into their foray into the unknown, the reader's fear mounts to a terrifying intensity. Against all odds for such a relentlessly brutal story, Joe manages to inject a paradoxical beauty into his epiphany of horror through his skilfull artistry with words..... 'The stranger sat hunched on the far side, close enough to the flames for them to reflect on the smooth gun-barrell. If he had not been there, the light would not have looked so hellish, merely warm. His presence changed everything and took the magic out of the moonlight.' This psychological thriller kept me in its vice grip until the very last sentence. I want to see it on film. The Shining meets The Blair Witch Project with an ending evoking images of the shocking Carrie. Absolutely superb. It is said that great creative art is the out-pouring of a troubled soul, and it did not surprise me to learn that this story was based on the author's real nightmares from horrific true events in his own life...JUST READ IT.
A bloody good read, finished reading this last night at 2.38 am and had work the next day ...... couldn't put it down until I found out what happened to the boys. Joe Donnelley is fast becoming my favourite author