Saturday, December 27, 2014

Book Review- Still Water by Justin Macumber


Kyle Mason escaped his hometown of Still Water about two seconds after he turned eighteen. Now, six years later, he's received a text from his younger sister, Taylor. Something weird is going on in town. People have changed, turning cruel. Their mother is nothing like her usual self. Their father is spending more and more time at the coal mine that is the whole reason the town exists. In fact, all the miners seem to be spending all their time there.

Now, not only are the miners hands black-stained, but their eyes are turning black, like the ore they spent their lives mining. There's something down in the mountain that's doing this to them. It's been there for a long time. And after milennia, it's finally time for it to emerge.

That's my summary. Here's the one I pulled from

Coal is the hard, black heart of the mountain town of Stillwater, West Virginia. But, far beneath it lies something much darker, an evil beyond time, waiting to rise and bathe the world in blood and fire once more. When unwitting miners dig into its tomb, only Kyle – Stillwater’s prodigal son – and paranormal investigator Maya stand between humanity and Hell. Time is short and evil runs deep in… STILL WATER.


Still Water could have happened last week, or it could be happening even as we speak. It's obvious in the setting that Macumber intends to have the events happening pretty much as the reader reads it... and to my joy, he didn't bother with any of that "writing it present tense" junk. After finishing this book, I could easily picture myself seeing an article about the events in the paper, or on a news website, or something like that. Having it happening right as I'm reading it definitely ramped up the scary factor.


Macumber is very easy to read and to listen to. I listened to this one through and was treated to an awesome performance by Veronica Giguere. This is the third Macumber book I've read (Haywire and A Minor Magic) being the other two, and I have to say his dialogue always feels very natural. He demonstrates a firm grasp of how people talk, especially when he makes a geographical distinction to his characters (like the West Virginian cast of Still Water, for example.)

My Thoughts

I'm still fairly new to the horror genre, and while I didn't get any real terror chills from reading Still Water, there was a definite creepy factor to it that I enjoyed. The thought of some ancient godlike creature looming under a mountain in nearby West Virginia (I live in Tennessee) brought this book close to home. Being from a nearby state made the characters hit close to home, too. I've known people like those in the book. And the fact that one character actually hails from Memphis, TN just made this all the more real. It really set the stage for me.

I don't feel like there was any real lag to the book, nor did it move too quickly. Macumber has a great sense of pacing that kept this book the perfect length for the story he was telling. That can be surprisingly hard to do. The issues his characters deal with (including racism and homophobia) firmly set the stage. He's built a great foundation for his story, in a world where his characters are familiar, if not necessarily comfortable. Then again, I can't see how anyone my age or younger could really be comfortable in Still Water, so great job there!

Would I Recommend This Book? Sure! If nothing else, Still Water will leave the reader with a sense of unease and hesitancy to believe that everything in the world is A-okay. It might not make you wet your pants, but it will definitely cast a shadow over you for a while. I give Still Water a cold-skinned 4 of 5 stars.

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