FAR DARK FIELDS by Gary A. Braunbeck (2009 leisure Books / 323 pp. / mmp)
Geoff Conover, who survived a massive killing spree when he was an infant, returns to Cedar Hill after thirty years to try and find out why the gunman (his brother) spared his life. He meets with a modern spree killer, and then a few locals at a tavern called the Hangman and learns some of the town's history (Braunbeck fans will geek-out over the references to many of his older Cedar Hill tales). A local reverend eventually explains the mysteries of Cedar Hill to Geoff, and takes him on a journey to find the answer he came looking for...a journey that takes them underneath an abandoned church to the lair of a legendary creature known as "Hoopsticks." Claustrophobics, beware!
FAR DARK FIELDS features everything Braunbeck fans have come to expect; a strange mystery, family tragedies, strange creatures, and (this time) musings on why we see the things we see (and the things we don't); and best of all, Braunbeck's writing is as breath-taking as ever. Despite the author's semi-familiar elements, FIELDS is a fresh, gripping read that unravels at a chilling, heart-breaking pace.
The ending--while satisfying--easily leaves room for another Cedar Hill novel, something I doubt I'd ever get tired of.