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May 23, 2021

Those Under the Hill by Mark N. Drake ~ a Review

by MK French

Going to Darkisle had shaken Jack Glennison’s world. Eight months later in May 1922, Jack is called back to find a missing boy. It’s uncommonly warm for May, the boy’s parents haven’t raised any alarms that he’s missing, and the family is unexpectedly wealthy. Nearby Slee Top Hill has odd occurrences, and apparently, Darkisle isn’t done with Jack.

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Those Under the Hill
April 2021; Indie; 979-8736366323
ebook, print (237 pages); horror
Those Under the Hill
is the second in the Glennison Darkisle series, after The Gathering of Shadows (read my review). If you read that one, awesome. You know we’re in for some cosmic horror. If not, go grab that one, then this one. Don’t worry, it’ll still be here waiting for you. We do have a summary of significant events in the prologue, but it’s more fun to read the book for yourself.

Oddities occurred on Darkisle before the boy went missing and his father forbade his mother from mentioning it. Freak lightning storms on Slee Top Hill that was golden in color without clouds, a pair of men supposedly killed by lightning with nothing but goo on the inside that evaporated on autopsy, and odd symbols everywhere. Jack was disconcerted before, but wholly unprepared for what he’d find on going back. From the start, hearing “folk remedies” about the boy’s grandfather gives me pause, even though the locals say it’s not witchcraft. This is a world where cosmic horror exists, so it’s not just some herbal remedies for colds. Jack delves deep into the old Darkic language and geography, which gives rise to investigating where the boy might have gone. We also meet Charles Deverby that was referenced in the first novel and get his side of the story.

I really enjoyed Jack’s investigations into the language, myths, and changing of place names over time. It’s something linguists do with modern languages a lot, and adds a realistic touch to Jack’s search. Once we get an idea of what is really happening at about the halfway mark, it becomes a race to try to find the boy and avoid the cult. As with many cosmic horror novels, it isn’t what we think it is and doesn’t end the way we hope it would. Darkisle has too many secrets lying in wait, after all, and the epilogue gives a hook for the next novel in the series.

Buy Those Under the Hill at Amazon
(The ebook is a free read for Kindle Unlimited subscribers. Sign up here)

Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever.

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