Little Heaven is an intense read. Three bounty hunters are hired to save a boy from a cult called Little Heaven in New Mexico. It’s obvious something is very badly wrong in Little Heaven–monsters lurk in the woods and children have been disappearing. Our bounty hunters, Micah, Ebenezer, and Minerva, just want to get the job done, but they find themselves drawn into something dark and otherworldly, threatening everyone’s lives.
The narrative goes back and forth in time from the 1980’s to the 1960’s. In the present, Micah’s daughter has been lured away from home by a creature. And in the past, we get the history of Micah, Ebenezer, and Minerva’s first encounter with this same creature, and how they ended up bound together as well as bound to the darkness. There’s also the story of Little Heaven itself, and the Reverend Amos Flesher, who founded it (and who has his own dark secrets and leanings).
Little Heaven is gory and dripping with dread all the way through. There’s also a feeling almost like a Western. The sense of foreboding, and of an otherworldly threat, saturate the story, but the mercenaries are lone-wolf types who just do the jobs they’re hired to do. The desert setting is gritty, vast, and lonely, well-suited to the bleak mood.
Yet, the ending has a tiny, tiny shred of hope, both for the characters and for humanity. It’s not happy by any stretch, but there is that hope. There’s also some black humor throughout which helps to balance the dark imagery.
If you like gory horror with great action, monsters, and an intense mood, give this one a try this Halloween! There’s also a lot to like if you’re a fan of vintage Stephen King–the tone and themes are pretty similar.