The Beale Witch Pro­ject

SFX - - Reviews -

re­leased 15 Oc­to­ber 224 pages | Hard­back/ Ebook

Au­thor Wil­liam Gay

Pub­lisher Faber& Faber

The late Wil­liam Gay didn’t pub­lish any fic­tion un­til he was close to 60. In just over a decade, he put out three bleak south­ern gothic nov­els and sev­eral short story col­lec­tions. When he passed away in 2012 that ap­peared to be that for his slim body of work. Then this ghost story was un­earthed...

It’s the early ’ 80s, and David Binder and his fam­ily move out to ru­ral Ten­nessee. He’s work­ing on a novel inspired by the bru­tal events that hap­pened at the iso­lated Beale farm and so, clearly a glut­ton for pun­ish­ment, he de­cides to buy it. It’s not long be­fore strange things start to hap­pen around the house, and a sin­is­ter fig­ure is spot­ted watch­ing the fam­ily...

There’s a fa­mil­iar­ity to ghost sto­ries that can rob them of their scares. That’s not the case here. The book’s brevity only adds to the sus­tained sense of dread, and it pos­i­tively thrums with a dark, witchy power. Gay has a knack for qui­etly eerie im­agery and his prose feels as an­cient and evil as the bar­barous acts that be­gan this haunting. Lit­tle Sis­ter Death lands some­where be­tween Stephen King, Cor­mac McCarthy and The Blair Witch Pro­ject – and is as in­sid­i­ous and ter­ri­fy­ing as that sounds. Will Salmon

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