by John Hornor Jacobs

Night Shade Books, $14.99, 270 pages

Southern Gods by John Hornor Jacobs tells the interweaving story of Bull Ingram and Sarah Rheinhart who are both searching for truths. Ingram, hired to find a lost DJ in Arkansas, and Rheinhart, living with her sick mother after leaving her husband, join together to reveal the truth about how their lives have been destined to intertwine.

This book held high anticipation for me. It garnered ample praise prior to publication, it also lives up to the hype.  In the same supernatural vein as other outstanding authors like Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams, Jacobs deftly blends German myth, American horror and world religion into a fast-paced tale of arcane knowledge and bloody family secrets.

The greatest strength the book holds is the use of subtly surprising horror elements. Unlike many other contemporaries, Jacobs doesn’t rely on zombies and shadowy figures outside the window to make this book horror. Instead, Jacobs creates a sense deep in the subconscious, affecting how the whole book is read.

Despite the intense action, moments of panic, mania and the constant feeling of unease running through the book, Southern Gods has a few drawbacks. The sluggish beginning, though filled with interesting subplot, is forgotten by the time the action picks up half way through the book.  The first several chapters could have been condensed to half, and the reader still would have had an enjoyable reading experience.||Ultimately though, Southern Gods brings an exciting adventure to readers and is worth finishing.

Andrew Keyser