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I received the following book from The Author in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Under Rand Farm by L. J. Denholm
Published by Indie/Self-published on 23 June 2020
Source: The Author
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NESTLED AMONG THE ROLLING HILLS AND FORESTS OF UPSTATE PENNSYLVANIA, RAND FARM has belonged to the family since a predatory Henry Rand purchased its sixty acres in the 1960s and began to sow his insidious seeds into its soil.
Henry nurtured his crops, his family, and his dark secrets before falling to a brutal death down the farm cellar’s stone staircase one frozen Christmas Eve.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Henry’s son Jack has inherited the farm and yields to a familial compunction to keep working its land.
But continuing to reap his dead father’s crops year after year while trying to provide for his wife, Patty, and their son, Sullivan, has eaten away at Jack’s soul, mirroring an ongoing decline of the farm’s increasingly desolate fields and barns as they become reclaimed by nature.
In his efforts to keep his internal rage, guilt and shame buried under rand farm, Jack skulks its acres alone. Turns to alcohol. Becomes prone to violent outbursts of temper.
But Jack’s quiet, unassuming son may just be the most dangerous Rand of them all, and Sullivan has his own stash of secrets in the farm cellar. And he has struck up a relationship with Simon the Serpent - a children's book character that he keeps spotting around the farm, who whisssspersss dark and deadly suggestions to Sullivan . . .
in his debut novel, LJ Denholm asks what drives man to commit his darkest acts, nature or nurture . . . or a combination of the two?
Under Rand Farm’s blurb instantly had me curious about this story, but it could not prepare me for the true horror I was about to endure. The author really dug deep into the lives of one family, whose hard work on the farm their lives revolved around left them not only drenched in sweat, but in blood and secrets. A good chunk of the start of the novel involved us learning the humble beginnings of the farm, then allowing us to dig just enough into each subsequent generation to get a feel for every character like the intricate little puzzle pieces they all are. Finally, in present generation, is where the truly dark nature of the family further presents itself. I am not one for spoilers, but I will say that the tone the author takes – slow and methodical – really pushes forward the chilling atmosphere of the entire work. I think very few will finish this novel without feeling at least a little bit haunted by the events, the realness at which they present themselves, and how it all wraps up. I definitely recommend for horror fans looking for a nice change of pace. I am not one easily scared and though this book did not change that for me, it did leave me with a lot of curious thoughts about all those other multi-generational farms, ranches, and businesses in general out there. What secrets might lie beneath them?