Tom Deady’s “Haven” is one great big, page-turner of a novel! Reminiscent of early Stephen King (most notably “It” and “Salem’s Lot”), Deady weaves a tale of small town New England beset by monsters, both of the human and inhuman sort.
The story starts when Paul Greymore is released from prison. Greymore, whose face is badly scarred from an accident when he was a child, was convicted seventeen years earlier of a string of brutal child murders. He maintains his innocence and is persuaded by the local priest (Father McCarthy) to return to Haven, the town he grew up in and scene of the crimes. Unfortunately for Greymore, almost as soon as he sets foot in his old hometown, the murders begin again.
For twelve-year-old Dennis O’Brien (Denny) and his friend, Billy, Greymore is, at first, a villain to be feared, but Paul’s gentle demeanor wins them over and they begin to believe in his innocence. All the while, strange things are happening in Haven. An unusual heat wave, a missing dog, and, of course, missing children, strike fear and anger in the hearts of its inhabitants.
I won’t say more about the plot here except that it involves caves (this was really frightening), an underground cavern, and an abandoned military base! As for the characters, they are complex, realistic, and so well drawn, you will find it hard not to become invested in their fates.
Like I said at the beginning, this is a big old book and I found myself on numerous occasions, awake in the wee smalls, losing much-needed sleep, because I was unable to put it down.
In “Haven” Deady has constructed a truly exceptional novel of horror, dread, and small town life. I recommend it to fans of the genre most highly and without hesitation.
Five big, bright, shiny stars!