On an isolated ridge in the Kentucky woods stands a homemade lighthouse, hundreds of miles from any substantial body of water. Local reporter Roy Darmus has always found it an amusing oddity- until he is selected as the recipient of a suicide note from its builder. Roy enters the bizarre structure to find the walls covered in maps bearing the names of the dead – including his own parents, who were killed in a car accident when he was a boy. Roy soon has a storytelling assignment more daunting than anything he’s seen before: convincing people that an age-old legend has in fact come to life.

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

The Ridge by Michael Koryta

With haunting atmosphere and tension-coiled plot, THE RIDGE is a terrifying journey into the heart of darkness.

I’ve always had a fascination with lighthouses – end of statement! Don’t ask me why or how because I honestly couldn’t tell you but the sad fact is, despite this fascination, I’ve never been in one! The closest I came to fulfilling my goal was on holiday a few years ago in Australia while visiting friends in Byron Bay. Unfortunately for me my timing was off and the lighthouse was closed. The magnificent lighthouse, built in 1901 is on Cape Byron Bay and stands proudly as the most Easterly light in Australia. Living in a windswept lighthouse, witnessing wave upon wave voraciously lashing against the unforgiving rocks somehow appeals to me! Whether it’s the romantic in me or a desire to live a solitary life I have no clue! Michael Koryta’s new supernatural thriller The Ridge revolves around a lighthouse built in a vast woodland by a solitary drunk who has seen better days.

The Ridge is the third book I’ve read by Michael Koryta in the last twelve months and I have to say he’s fast becoming my favourite author and if there’s one author I can’t wait to release another title it would unquestionably be Michael. Following on from the highly successful So Cold the River and The Cypress House – both standalone novels – Koryta returns with a beguiling standalone narrative and yet another novel with a deep understanding and affinity with the power of darkness, history and evil. I do worry about Koryta’s mental state sometimes but he seems grounded enough to me!

Of the three books I’ve read So Cold the River still remains my favourite – I urge you all to add this to your to be read list – but isn’t that always the way? The first book you read by an author, the first version of a song sung by an artist or the first film by an actor; they always stick in your mind more than any remake or follow up. The Ridge is another intelligently crafted novel and has a taut narrative that will remain with you for years to come. Written by an outstanding wordsmith the novel sucks you in from the opening scenes and appears to have an invisible hold that only falters once the all encapsulating dénouement is upon us.

Although there are a number of key characters in The Ridge if I was to pick out one as the main protagonist it would have to be the big cats. Not your usual protagonist I grant you but for me their sheer power, grace and presence in the hills of Kentucky added an air of invincibility and mystery to the book that was incredibly addictive. As the book evolves so do the cats, moving from their tranquil sanctuary to a new home in the shadows of the eerie lighthouse – built by Wyatt French, a loner and an alcoholic – they are clearly affected by a home on the ridge that holds so many dark and undiscovered mysteries.

It’s left to Chief Deputy Kimble – an intriguing and complex character – to solve the age old riddle following the death of Wyatt French. We discover he was shot while on duty and has the scars and pain to prove it. But what does this shooting have in common with the events and death toll at the ridge? You’ll have to read the book to find out but the way Koryta ties everything together in this magnificent multi layered thriller is for want of a better word, spell binding.  Koryta has crafted an unlikely hero in Kimble and like the big cats he reacts to events and an ever changing backdrop. The lighthouse appears to get under the skin of all those who come into contact with the structure and whether this hold will ever be broken remains to be seen.

Another cracking title from the master of the supernatural thriller, it comes highly recommended. Terrifyingly dark, you’ll want to read this book with the lights on – for if you don’t – who knows what will happen but one thing is certain, it won’t be good! Koryta writes with a haunting ease that does nothing but entertain in this fast paced thriller.

The Ridge is published by Hodder & Stoughton in the UK and is available to buy in hardcover and kindle.

Bibliography

So Cold the River

The Cypress House

 

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