For readers and fans of monster legends and folklore, prepare yourselves for a new writer and his series to captivate your attention. New author J.P. Barnett has just recently published the first in his new Lorestalker Series that promises to give stories to readers fascinated by the legendary folktales of old. The Beast of Rose Valley is the first of Barnett’s series as well as his debut novel and offers a fast-paced suspenseful tale about a monster terrorizing a small town and what the small town must do to save themselves.
Rose Valley, Texas is a small town where everyone knows everyone and consists of a community where everyone is born, raised, and lives their full lives there. A few community members dared to venture out into the world, only to find themselves back where their lives began. Jake Rollins barely managed to survive a terrible car accident and is under the care of a well-schooled doctor and colleague in Rose Valley. On top of caring for his health, he has been present to the aftermath of some strange incidents that have been occurring around town. It may not seem like a large concern, considering the deaths that have occurred are namely livestock, but when said livestock’s remains are found turned inside out, of course concern is going to spread. The respected sheriff of Rose Valley tries to keep the multiple mutilations under wraps, but Jake knows something is going on and only with the help of a local reporter and familiar colleague, Shandi Mason, can he uncover what is terrorizing their small town. Little do they know that their terror is an unimaginable nightmare that leaves them with a near impossible decision to make: to kill the terror and save the town… or to save the terror itself.
It seems to be rare to find an intriguing monster story nowadays. Barnett has changed that and has offered the first in a series of stories that will give readers an enjoyable read about monsters and, in the future, perhaps some well-known folklore, as well. To start, allow readers to focus on Barnett’s writing style. Short, sweet, and to the point, Barnett tackles has the ability to tackle a story quickly. He gives just the right amount of detail to hint at the monster, but does not prolong the inevitable introduction of it to the readers. He picks and chooses what he describes which equals an excellent amount of detail for the readers: not too much and not too little. Barnett’s strength, however, lies within his dialog and character development. Both go hand in hand as, through his dialog, Barnett develops his characters and makes them stronger.
Now we come to the next aspect of Barnett’s writing skills: storytelling. The Beast of Rose Valley is a cleverly concocted folktale of an unheard of monster. The story itself can be a bit predictable at times; however, it offers an enticing and intriguing new story. While Barnett meant for his series to be more a part of the horror/ thriller/ suspense genre, the first in his series proves to be more thriller/ suspense. He offers just the right amount of delaying the story’s monster secret to give the readers suspense, but does not keep them hanging for too terribly long. This actually offers a nice reprieve to readers who silently yell at the author to “reveal what the threat is already!” to “I want to know what the… Oh, okay, fascinating! I want to know even more!”. What is personally nice about this particular monster is that it almost comes across as a Frankenstein’s monster sort of figure which, with the characteristics of a classic well-known monster, will most certainly captivate the attention of a broader audience.
Let us focus next on the characters that have been created for this series. Barnett is an author who focuses on minimal characters which proves to be more beneficial to stories, especially series, for it allows readers to become closer to certain characters. For The Beast of Rose Valley, readers may find themselves becoming closer to Jake and Shandi. Jake is a very relatable character: a man, with a fascination for monster tales and folklore, who grew up in a small town and wished to get away. Getting away caused a series of traumatic events that landed him back in said small town. Now, he wishes to strengthen himself after a horrific accident and, perhaps, make his life better with the addition of a new person who he has considered perhaps more-than-a-friend since he was in high school. Shandi, who shares mutual feelings with aforementioned said character, is a nosey reporter who proves to be an excellent investigator and one who doesn’t take crap from anyone. This almost instantly makes her a likeable character and an excellent addition to the ever-growing powerhouse female character roster of today’s fiction. For the duration of this story, readers will be rooting for these two to get together upon the story’s conclusion.
While The Beast of Rose Valley proved to be an excellent introduction to a highly anticipated new monster series, there are a few small details that could use a bit of development. The story itself is a bit predictable, yet still enjoyable. Rather than the horror/ suspense/ thriller genre it was geared towards, it was more suspense/ thriller. There weren’t too many scenes that proved to be horrifying and intense in nature, but the story itself still proved to be an excellent new “creature feature”. While the story was fast-paced, there were times when the storytelling could have slowed down. Readers may wish to know more about the monster and its backstory. Along the lines of some of the character’s backstories, some details as a whole are a bit vague, such as Jake’s car accident and other details readers will come across while reading. Perhaps, in future books, Barnett can expand on and offer more details on crucial events that involve characters and/or the story as a whole.
New author Barnett has captivated readers with the first in his new suspense/ thriller Lorestalker Series. With fast-paced storytelling and characters developed excellently through dialog, The Beast of Rose Valley is Barnett’s debut in the writing community and it proves to be a gripping new story that will captivate the attention of those who love monster legends and tall tales of folklore. This story proves to be a cleverly concocted lore and the beginning of a series with incredible potential. What other monsters of lore will be introduced to readers? Where will the monsters sprout up? Will any of these, like the one in The Beast of Rose Valley, be brand new original creations? Within a series of unknown length, readers are in for a real treat as Barnett’s Lorestalker Series continues with the second book The Kraken of Cape Madre, releasing in November of this year!