Rebecca thought she’d find a hippie paradise when she moved to the desolate back hills of Humboldt County. A place to commune with nature and teach her five-year-old daughter how to live off the land. Instead, she discovered a nightmare. Coyote is a washed-up pot grower. Strung out on pills and dealing with dropping prices and looming legalization, he wonders if it’s even worth it anymore. Diesel Dan abandoned his son for a life of methamphetamine and prison. Now he wants to make amends. He’s going to be a grandfather. But his son is on the same dark road of drugs and violence that once consumed him. These characters will come together in an explosive ending that will leave you stunned and breathless. But more than just a gripping horror novel, Kind Nepenthe is a deep examination into the nature of love and greed, lost ideals, and the essence of evil in one of the last frontiers of the American West.
What I Thought:
I am still recovering from this book. Set deep in the hilly-billy hills of California’s Humboldt County, Rebecca pursues the responsibility of tending to Coyote’s pot growing project. The payment will be enough to give her and her daughter, Magen, the homestead life she has always dreamed.
Diesel, a certified diesel mechanic and felon drug dealer, attempts to mend his strained relationship with his son, DJ. DJ’s girlfriend is expecting Diesel’s grandson which symbolizes a new beginning for the entire family.
From the beginning, Brockmeyer gives us a calm sense of conflict. While this old hippie commune turned marijuana endeavor is undoubtedly creepy, there does not seem to be any immediate danger.
As tension escalates and things don’t go according to planned, Brockmeyer has a clever way of leading our mind in places that surprise us when their true intentions are revealed. Where ghosts are not the only things haunting the story, and pasts, which these characters try to escape, come back to seek revenge.
Named for the 12th stanza of Poe’s The Raven, this kind nepenthe is anything but. Years after finishing this horror novel, I am still feeling the effects of the desperate, hollow, wallowing of the end. A compliment to the story of which Brockmeyer should be both proud and yet slightly ashamed. It takes great writing to evoke such strong emotions that are palpable long after the story is over.
I recommend this book to everyone looking for a dark story. I will not give away how bright or dim the light is at the end of this tunnel, but it is definitely worth the emotional rollercoaster it takes to find out.
About the Author:
Matthew V. Brockmeyer lives in an off-grid cabin, deep in the forest of Northern California, with his wife and two children. He enjoys howling at the moon and drenching his fangs in human blood.
He is the author of the critically-acclaimed novel KIND NEPENTHE: A Savage Tale of Terror Set in the Heart of California’s Marijuana Country.
His short stories have been featured in numerous publications, both in print and online, including, among others, Infernal Ink Magazine, Not One of Us, Timeless Tales Magazine, Body Parts Magazine, Alephi, Pulp Metal Magazine, and the anthologies The Edge: Infinite Darkness, After the Happily Ever After, and One Hundred Voices.
His a regular contributor to Cultured Vultures, where he writes book reviews and interviews authors.
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