From indie horror author and bestselling sensation Ania Ahlborn, this brand-new supernatural thriller questions: how far would you go for success, and what would you be capable of if the promise of forever was real?
With his marriage on the rocks and his life in shambles, washed up crime writer Lucas Graham is desperate for a comeback. So when he’s promised exclusive access to notorious cult leader and death row inmate Jeffrey Halcomb, the opportunity is too good to pass up. Lucas leaves New York for the scene of the crime—a split-level farmhouse on the gray-sanded beach of Washington State—a house whose foundation is steeped in the blood of Halcomb’s diviners; runaways who, thirty years prior, were drawn to his message of family, unity, and unconditional love. Lucas wants to tell the real story of Halcomb’s faithful departed, but when Halcomb goes back on his promise of granting Lucas exclusive information on the case, he’s left to put the story together on his own. Except he is not alone. For Jeffrey Halcomb promised his devout eternal life…and within these walls, they’re far from dead.
I have somewhat mixed feelings about Within These Walls. Some things I thought were great and some I didn’t particularly care for. Overall, it’s a decent book and I can imagine others still enjoying the things I didn’t.
The first quarter or so of Within These Walls was exceptionally slow for me. I initially had a hard time getting into the story. I was interested in what was going to happen, but it felt like it took forever to get anywhere and I was bored during most of that portion of the book. It did pick up the pace around chapter 13 or so.
One thing I liked about Within These Walls was that I felt like I could relate to Lucas in a way that’s different from many other characters I’ve read. I think it’s mainly due to us having some of the same interests from that era of our youth. I got a little nostalgic reading about his boots, and his having played Vampire: the Masquerade. He made his daughter watch the movie “Heathers” just as I did to my own daughter.
Within These Walls has a very Manson Family-esq feel to it. In some ways, it was your stereotypical cult with a charismatic male leader and younger followers, and the author does actually refer to the Manson family at one point, so I’m sure she is aware of the similarities lol. It’s not a blatant copy or retelling of the Manson murders, so I don’t mean to imply that, but you can definitely see the resemblance if you know anything about Charles Manson and his followers. Their ultimate purpose was quite different though.
There are times throughout Within These Walls where the story is a bit predictable. Not completely, but if you read a lot of horror or true crime types of books, it isn’t as surprising as it could be. I would like to have seen a more exciting ending. The ending was ultimately what I expected to happen, though there is a bit of it that I didn’t expect and really thought was a good idea. I guess you could say that while I didn’t love the ending in bits and pieces, as a whole I did enjoy it.
Within These Walls has been sitting on my shelf for quite an embarrassing amount of time now. I’m not sure why it took me so long to get to, but I’m glad I was finally able to read it. I would recommend it to anyone looking for a decently sized read that has some twists and enjoys cultish books.