From indie horror author and bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn, this brand-new supernatural thriller questions: how far would you go for success, and what would you be capable of if the promise of forever was real?
With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed up crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback. So when he’s promised exclusive access to notorious cult leader and death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the opportunity is too good to pass up. Lucas leaves New York for the scene of the crime—a split-level farmhouse on the gray-sanded beach of Washington State—a house whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners; runaways who, thirty years prior, were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. Lucas wants to tell the real story of Halcomb’s faithful departed, but when Halcomb goes back on his promise of granting Lucas exclusive information on the case, he’s left to put the story together on his own. Except he is not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.
I picked this up last year at NYCC.
I enjoyed Within These Walls immensely. At 447 pages and taking me only 5 days to read, it’s a true page turner.
It stirs up all kinds of emotions. I was nervous, spooked, annoyed, angry, and saddened.
The f—ed up mentality, abuse, and manipulative behavior of the cult is really well developed; as was the loneliness, desperation, and vulnerabilty of the victims.
The story goes back to 1982/83 and forward to present day with some inclusions of articles, incident reports, and paranormal reports – which I really enjoyed. It connected everything really well.
This is one of those books that will keep me thinking for a few days. I have a book hangover. I even thought of a playlist that would go well with it:
-“Father Figure” by George Michael. The whole song is Jeff Halcomb.
-“Big God” by Florence + the Machine. “You need a big God. Big enough to hold your love.” and “You always were my favorite ghost.”
-“”Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)” by Eurythmics. The whole verse about wanting to use and abuse and be used and abused.
There are some issues though which made me decide to downgrade it by 1 point. While I really liked the way it ended because it remained true to the powerful and ominous direction it was headed all along (and I think leaves it open for a sequel) not everything is answered and they are pretty important plot holes.
4 out of 5 Ornate Crosses.
These are major spoilers so enter at your own risk!
My sister already read it and told me there were going to be plot holes. This is what she wrote in her review and since I pretty much agree and am being very lazy I am copying and pasting:
“Why did Jeffrey want Audra/Avis to get pregnant? What was the point of the baby in the sacrifice? Did Jeff plan to kill himself during the first sacrifice (along with his followers) but the cops walking in ruined his plan? And if he did plan to kill himself back in 1983, which body/vessel was he going to use to resurrect himself? And what happened to his followers at the end of the book? They woke up, but then what? And what was the stuff Maggie had to take care of after the sacrifice? Her history with Jeff back in Veldt was mentioned, but never delved into. I wanted more of that.”
My own questions: Where did the baby’s soul go?
Did Jeff plead guilty at his trial?
I want to ask Ania Ahlborn these questions!