Old Country by Matt Query and Harrison Query

My Five Word TL:DR Review : Unique and Compelling Horror Story

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I have to hand it to the author(s), this is such an unusual kind of horror story that it’s absolutely compelling and I could barely put it down.

I’ll just give a very brief outline of the plot.  A young couple and their dog move to the wilderness in pursuit of the dream existence.  No more rat race.  They buy an almost-too-good-to-be-true ranch and settle in to a life of self sufficiency and idyllic vistas.  They can’t believe their good fortune until their closest, and in fact only, neighbours pay them a visit and give them some well needed advice.  Essentially there is a malevolent and unknown presence within the valley that manifests during each season in a different form.  Basically, there are rules for living on the land, rules that if not followed cause chaos and death.

What I really liked about this is the actual concept.  It’s so unique (to me at least) – not particularly the idea of a malicious spirit making its presence felt, so much as the incredibly strange way in which it does so.  I’m not going to give any hints here because I think readers need to discover the story for themselves.  What I will say is that there are some very creepy ideas here that without doubt make your skin crawl and this is seriously heightened by the ever increasing sense of impending doom that is ramped up with each new season.

In terms of the characters.  Well, Harry and Sasha are quite an easy to read couple.  They have a strong bond and a desire to protect each other which is just as well considering what they’re about to go through.  For me however, the dog, Dash, stole the show.  In fact, they’d have been pretty much lost without their canine companion as he saved the day more than once.  In fact in that respect Harry could be a little annoying at times in terms of his decision making. I do understand that he is suffering (Harry is an ex-marine suffering from PTSD following a terrible incident) but he had a kind of macho fuelled obsession with wanting to fight against things that simply can’t be fought against – and he just wouldn’t give up which was a bit frustrating sometimes.  That being said, he does listen to his wife and she is without doubt the voice of reason here.

I have to say that the winter ‘show’ gave me the heebies.  Each successive season becomes progressively more bleak, which is almost a strange parallel now I think about it with the challenges and the weather gradually becoming more bleak.

Criticisms.  I thought the ending was a little rushed and there was definitely an element of those in the know keeping others in the dark a little – like why not simply talk and share information instead of skirting round the issues and beating about the bush.

That said, I enjoyed this.  It was a quick read.  It hooked me very quickly.  I enjoyed the no-nonsense style of writing which portrays the beauty of the place and makes the horrors taking place that much more stark and it’s one of those reads where I felt like for the majority of the time I was simply gobsmacked.

I received a copy through Netgalley, courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

3 Responses to “Old Country by Matt Query and Harrison Query”

  1. Tammy

    I need this book. Especially because there’s a dog in it😁

  2. pagesandtea

    I hope Dash made it through safely 😀

  3. Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum

    This book was so creepy and great but I also agree with everything 100% – Harry was annoying, and his wife was definitely the voice of reason. The winter manifestation was also so scary and I was really interested in the idea that it only manifests to some people and the reason for it – it fit nicely into Harry’s backstory, basically, while everyone else had no idea. The ending felt rushed for me too, probably my only real criticism. And I definitely should have featured Dash more in my review!

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