Reviews in the Machine: The Ridge by Jeffery X Martin
For those who know me understand, I will never win awards for the worlds fastest reader. I see other bibliophiles and their Goodreads accomplishments and marvel. My own wife can sit down and consume a 800 page mega-novel in the span of a few days. Its insane. I don’t get how its even possible. But hey, to each their own pace, right? So, when a fast read, and I mean a good fast read, comes along, its worth celebrating. Such was the case when I started Jeffery X Martin’s new book, The Ridge on a Saturday morning and finished that night.
Before we continue, here is the offered synopsis from the author:
For generations, the Sanford family have lived by themselves on the rural outskirts of Elders Keep. But now, Lucas Brock and his pregnant wife, Jude, have chosen to make their home among them as the first outsiders to settle onto Wednesday Ridge in a century. With the arrival of new blood, the horrific secrets the Sanfords have been hiding are coming to light. There’s something on the ridge, something that should not exist. It is ancient. It is ravenous. And on the ridge, everything is prey.
Now, seeing how it would be the worst thing any reviewer could do (specifically with book reviews) to get too specific and spoil things that ought to be discovered by actually reading said book, I will tip-toe across this wilderness as much as I can. I’d rather focus on what kept me glued, which was desiring above all else, to finish the story. To be a little transparent, this isn’t my first Jeffery X Martin story, and it won’t be my last. Mr. X, as his friends call him, has carved out within the horror community, his own niche–folk horror, of which I believe he is one of the best modern authors to tackle said sub-genre. But that’s just what motivated me to buy the book. What kept me stubborn to finish in one sitting?
“One may as well attempt to build a box the exact shape of mist; for like the mist, folk horror is atmospheric and sinuous” -Andy Paciorek.
As far as Jeffery X Martin stories go, this is one of Mr. X’s best. His characters were fully fleshed out and very relatable. For me, this is a big deal. I’m a firm believer that you could write just about anything, so long as your characters are believable. Inside Jude and Lucas, I could see my wife and I, and some of the feelings they had, with their marriage or the pregnancy and the joy and anxiety and learning where each stood in the relationship felt real in this book, feeling I myself have felt from time to time. Lindy, who you’ll discover on your own, was also a surprise favorite. The only thing I wish to have been there that wasn’t was more of the Sanford clan. Having a limited cast of characters certainly helps focus the story on who should be the focus, but it still would have been cool to see more of the clan.
The pacing of The Ridge was also another fantastic quality of the book that kept my attention. The constant ebb and flow of emotions, from happy new family moments to pure terror to discovery and mystery and everything in-between. There were moments when I felt sorry for Jude and there were moments I wanted to slap her and tell her to get over herself. The same with Lucas, more than once i wanted to tell him to man up. But that’s the beauty of a really well put together story, the author, Mr. X, made me care about these people, flaws and all, because without them, without those flaws, it wouldn’t feel real. People are not perfect creatures.
And then there was the big reveal, the moment all the small puzzle pieces began fitting together, and even when they did there was still a larger imagine/character to emerge that literally floored me. Again, I don’t/can’t say too much here. The incredibly horrifying things about the monsters in folk horror shine in this book. I saw it coming together, not entirely predictable, some parts were and that’s okay, and I uttered “Whoa.” The ending was…I’ll never say, not until you read this book for yourself and experience what I experienced, then we can talk. But I will say, Jeffery is not as nihilistic as he lets on sometimes.
That’s my review of The Ridge, folks. Go out, surf Amazon, whatever, buy this excellent work of fiction. He calls it a novella, but hey, anything longer than a long short story is a book in my humble opinion. If you dig folk horror, this is a story you will not want to miss.
Available on eBook and paperback!
From the battlefields of Remarque’s All Quiet on the Western Front to the horrors of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot to even the absurd cult classics of J. Michael Muro movies, Street Trash, Thomas S Flowers’s love for gross and equally deeply emotionally things has no bar or limit. Such appetites saturate his own writings, from the paranormal happenings of his PSTD ridden thriller series Subdue, to his gory zombie infested PLANET OF THE DEAD series, to even his recent dabbling of vampiric flirtation in THE LAST HELLFIGHTER. He hopes that his love for the genre seeps into the minds of his readers. And that you will enjoy his books just as much as he enjoyed writing them. You can follow Thomas and get yourself a FREE eBook copy of FEAST by joining his MONTHLY mailing list. Sign up by vising www.ThomasSFlowers.com.