In keeping with Rollo's ability to craft an incredible story, Valley Of The Scarecrow delivers top notch storytelling with all the flair of a late '80's/ early '90's slasher flick feel. The ride is intense, brutal, and never lets up. If this is what we can expect from Rollo - the future of Canadian horror is in great hands.
Seventy years ago the residents of Miller's Grove rose to destroy their devil-worshipping minister. They lashed him to a cross in his church and left him to die, resembling a macabre human scarecrow. But now the scarecrow has returned to life and is hungry for his revenge.
From the beginning of the novel, Rollo sets out to let the reader know that he is still in top form, introducing a cast of characters that are not only faithful to the genre's expectations, but also the dependable keys to a great story. It's through these characters that Rollo brings a new slant to the whole "slasher" camp, making the reader feel like they're part of the story - instead of feeling like you're just reading one. Personally, I felt as if I were watching something in the vein of Friday the 13th or Sleepaway Camp - as opposed to reading a novel, making this a very worthwhile experience. I can directly attribute this to Rollo's killer dialogue and the creative way he spins his characters. It's refreshing at the same time as it gives the reader a sense of nostalgia for the aforementioned 'slasher' days.
The monster featured in this novel is incredible. Joshua Miller is the stuff that nightmares are made of, namely for the fact that he just jumps off the page and straight into your head. Rollo has taken something that has been used for years - the Scarecrow - and made it scary again. The very idea that a scarecrow would come to life and chase someone is terifying enough, but add a religion-fueled, righteous indignation makes it all the more terrifying. Couple that with Rollo's innate ability to create some seriously traumatizing scenes depicting some seriously disturbing monsters, and you have what I like to think is the stuff of true terror - done properly. I don't know who/where he comes up with this stuff, but I'm hoping it keeps up.
To add one last bit of info (potential spoiler ahead), Valley Of The Scarecrow sets itself up for a sequel which, upon finishing the novel, I am now salavating for.
You can check out Gord Rollo's website here, follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and visit his forum (hosted by The Keenedom, registration necessary) here.
Valley Of The Scarecrow is available at the Leisure Books website and on Amazon as an ebook. If you don't have a Kindle, read it on your iPod, like I did. It's completely worth it.
The Trade Paperback will be available from Leisure in 2011.