The Ridge by Michael Koryta
Genre: Suspense/ Thriller
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date: 2011
The Short Version:
There is an evil present at Blade Ridge and it’s going to be up to a sheriff’s deputy and a reporter for a now defunct local newspaper to figure out how to fight it.
Why I Read It:
I have been a fan of Michael Koryta for several years first reading his Lincoln Perry series and then his standalone thrillers.
From the publisher:
In an isolated stretch of eastern Kentucky, on a hilltop known as Blade Ridge, stands a lighthouse that illuminates nothing but the surrounding woods. For years the lighthouse has been considered no more than an eccentric local landmark-until its builder is found dead at the top of the light, and his belongings reveal a troubling local history.
For deputy sheriff Kevin Kimble, the lighthouse-keeper’s death is disturbing and personal. Years ago, Kimble was shot while on duty. Somehow the death suggests a connection between the lighthouse and the most terrifying moment of his life.
Audrey Clark is in the midst of moving her large-cat sanctuary onto land adjacent to the lighthouse. Sixty-seven tigers, lions, leopards, and one legendary black panther are about to have a new home there. Her husband, the sanctuary’s founder, died scouting the new property, and Audrey is determined to see his vision through.
As strange occurrences multiply at the Ridge, the animals grow ever more restless, and Kimble and Audrey try to understand what evil forces are moving through this ancient landscape, just past the divide between dark and light.
This is another book like Koryta’s The Cypress House that has a supernatural element to the story yet is one that can appeal to readers who might not describe supernatural books as something they normally like. I would definitely describe it as a suspense story before I’d describe it as a supernatural or paranormal story.
The setting in an isolated part of Kentucky gives it a strong sense of place as well as the dark atmospheric backdrop necessary for such a story. The looming danger is echoed in the cats at the wildlife refuge that are clearly on edge in their new environment.
Deputy Kimble and Roy Darmus are both interesting characters. Their pursuit of the truth about what is happening and has happened in the past at Blade Ridge is kicked off when just before he kills himself, Wyatt French calls both men and demands that they tell the true story.
The story has its roots deep in the past but reaching its deadly influence into the present day. As he did in The Cypress House, Koryta lets the story come together in bits and pieces increasing the tension gradually until it builds into a final confrontation that makes it difficult to stop once you get to the final quarter of the book. Good and honorable men seeking to defeat an unexpected evil in an extremely well done story.