Monday, June 6, 2011

Review: The Ridge

Summary: On an isolated ridge in the Kentucky woods stands a homemade lighthouse, hundreds of miles from any substantial body of water. Local reporter Roy Darmus has always found it an amusing oddity- until he is selected as the recipient of a suicide note from its builder. Roy enters the bizarre structure to find the walls covered in maps bearing the names of the dead--including his own parents, who were killed in a car accident when he was a boy. Roy soon has a storytelling assignment more daunting than anything he's seen before: convincing people that an age-old legend has in fact come to life. With haunting atmosphere and tension-coiled plot, The Ridge is a terrifying journey into the heart of darkness. -- Little, Brown

If you had told me a year ago that I would be a huge fan of Michael Koryta's, I probably wouldn't have believed you. I rarely read books with supernatural elements, and when I do, I usually have a hard time getting past those make-believe parts of the story. But then, I met Mr. Koryta at a book signing/reading during last year's BEA; and I was instantly charmed. I won't go so far as to say that I developed an "author crush," but it was pretty darn close.

So I read SO COLD THE RIVER and loved it (my review.) And then I read THE CYPRESS HOUSE and loved it (my review) and I admit I was a little surprised! While I deeply appreciated the mystery and suspense aspects of these two novels, I also enjoyed the supernatural parts and actually found them to be believable. I was forced to admit that it was time to re-think my entire position on supernatural thrillers. (Although, part of me still thinks that I'm not a huge fan of these types of books -- it's just that Mr. Kortya is that good!)

I was very anxious to see if THE RIDGE, Mr. Koryta's third supernatural thriller would live up to my expectations. You know, that whole "third time's the charm" thing! I'm very happy to say that THE RIDGE didn't disappoint... at all. It is a little shorter than SO COLD THE RIVER and THE CYPRESS HOUSE, but it's still chock-full of action-packed, mind-blowing scenes as well as an intriguing mystery. And, it was more than a little creepy -- it definitely made the hair on my arms stand straight up!

THE RIDGE tells the strange story of a stretch of land in eastern Kentucky called Blade Ridge. When the owner of a lighthouse in the middle of the woods is found dead of an apparent suicide, things begin to get very interesting. Kevin Kimble, the deputy sheriff, and Roy Darmus, the local newspaper editor, become involved in the investigation; and both find that their individual investigations cross over into their personal lives. Added to the mix is Audrey Clark, the owner of a big-cat sanctuary that has recently moved near the lighthouse. When she realizes that her cats are bothered by the mysterious forces from the lighthouse, she also becomes caught up in these very weird occurrences.

Like the other books that I've read by Mr. Kortya, THE RIDGE captured my attention from the get-go. While I found the story to be incredibly interesting, especially the parts about the big-cat sanctuary, I was drawn into the mystery surrounding the lighthouse and the past "crimes" that occurred nearby. And of course, Mr. Koryta can weave a fantastic story -- I truly think he is one of the best out there! He had me on the edge of my seat for the entire 350 pages.

What really stood out to me about THE RIDGE, though, was the character development. I was pleasantly surprised by the range and depth of the characters, namely Kevin, Roy and Audrey; and I thought their flaws and insecurities were portrayed very effectively. I'm wondering if I am better able to "accept" the supernatural aspects of the story as being real because I find that the characters are so authentic. Hmmmm.... something to ponder! Either way, I have found that I absolutely love Michael Koryta's books.

If you haven't discovered Michael Koryta yet, then you are definitely missing out. He's a great storyteller and I guarantee that he will take you on a fantastic ride with his supernatural mysteries -- especially THE RIDGE!

Thanks to the publisher for sending an ARC of this novel.

Mystery Mondays is a "somewhat" regular feature where I review all types of mystery books -- traditional mysteries, suspense/thrillers, and even cozies! Please feel free to share your thoughts on any recent mystery books that you've read.


bermudaonion said...

I think we both have an author crush on Michael Koryta, but who can blame us?! I'm looking forward to reading this!

Beth F said...

Still not sure if these are too woo-woo for me but I'm determined to give them a try.

Jenn's Bookshelves said...

See, this is one of the many reasons I think Koryta is awesome (and pretty cute, too): he is so talented in his writing that he gets people not normally interested in this "sub-genre" to read his books!!

I'm so glad you loved THE RIDGE, and Koryta's other books. I almost wished I held off on reading THE RIDGE; it's going to seem like ages til he releases another book!

I do plan on reading his Lincoln Perry series!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Well, I suppose I could overlook the woo-woo element in favor of a woo-hoo author!

Kay said...

I read SO COLD THE RIVER last year and loved it too. I think the supernatural elements were not overwhelming and that helps for readers not used to that. They are more creepy, but not IN YOUR FACE - if that makes sense.

Looking forward to reading this one and also CYPRESS HOUSE (still on my TBR). I'm kind of at the point of my life where I can admit that I read more for character development than always for plot and I love the fact that this aspect stood out for you.

iwriteinbooks said...

Hmmm, sounds intriguing but I'm not totally convinced it's for me. I've seen him around, though and really I ought to give it a shot!

Bailey (The Window Seat Reader) said...

I, too, have seen him around and am still a little cautious about his style... but I really want to try this [cute? lol] author soon!

Swapna said...

I'm right there with you with that author crush! I'm glad to see you enjoyed this one, I hope to get to it soon!