The Devil Walks in Mattingly

( 20 )

Overview

For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man's untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride's body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn't kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the...

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Overview

For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man's untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.

It has been twenty years since Philip McBride's body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn't kill himself that day. He was murdered.

Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly's sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be.His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does forthe poor will someday washthe blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusionand fear, fueled by madness and hatred.

Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to riseagain. Philip McBride has haunted Jake's dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.

"Coffey has a profound sense of Southern spirituality. His narrative moves the reader from . . . [a] false heaven to a terrible hell, then back again to a glorious grace." —Publishers Weekly

"The Devil Walks in Mattingly. . . recalls Flannery
O'Conner with its glimpses of the grotesque and supernatural." —BookPage

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
01/06/2014
This inspirational novel of sin and redemption is set in Mattingly, Va., a back-country village where the supernatural is as real as any reality. Throughout their marriage, sheriff Jake Barnett and his wife Kate have kept secret their shared involvement in the death of Philip McBride 20 years ago. But when Taylor Hathcock stumbles into town with knowledge of that event, the past unravels. The entire town becomes involved, from the reporter who alerts the townspeople about contemporary crimes and accuses Jake of cowardice to the motherless Lucy Seekins, seeking love wherever she can find it, even in a criminal’s lair, to the ostracized Justus, whose name symbolizes the novel’s theme. Supernatural events pull the haunted players into a place where all must sacrifice their worst secrets to pave the way for salvation. Coffey (When Mockingbirds Sing) has a profound sense of Southern spirituality. His narrative moves the reader from Jake and Kate’s false heaven to a terrible hell, then back again to a glorious grace. Agent: Rachelle Gardner, Books & Such Literary Agency. (Mar.)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781401688226
  • Publisher: Nelson, Thomas, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/11/2014
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 660,158
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Billy Coffey's critically acclaimed books combine rural Southern charm with a vision far beyond the ordinary. He is a regular contributor to several publications, where he writes about faith and life. Billy lives with his wife and two children in Virginia's Blue Ridge Mountains. Visit him at www.billycoffey.com. Facebook: billycoffeywriter Twitter: @billycoffey
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Read an Excerpt

the devil walks in mattingly


By Billy Coffey

Thomas Nelson

Copyright © 2014 Billy Coffey
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4016-8822-6


CHAPTER 1

Part I

Wake, O Sleeper


• 1 •

I sat on the edge of Zach's bed and stared at the small town of LEGOs and Matchbox cars that covered the floor. Took us a week of evenings to piece everything together—all the streets and buildings and shops that made up downtown Mattingly and the stretch beyond. Everything had to be just right (Zach would have it no other way), and as such we both still considered it a work in progress. But that night I wasn't thinking of how the courthouse could use an extra layer of bricks or that there needed to be another window on the Dairy Queen. I only pondered what a good father would say next. All I could manage was a weak, "You know you're in trouble, right?"

Zach lay there and tried to appear indifferent by holding his red blanket as close to his body as possible. The lower lid of his right eye had curdled to a dark and swollen purple. It looked as though an invisible hand was forcing him into an ugly wink. The cut scabbing the slit that bridged the tiny space between his nose and mouth looked no better. It was painful to be sure, though it wasn't a busted lip and a black eye that held my son's tongue. It was whatever punishment I would levy for his getting them.

Zach said, "He had it comin', Daddy."

"Danny Blackwell."

"Yessir. He was on the playground pullin' on Allie Granderson's pigtails. I tole him to stop, Daddy. Twiced. But he dint."

"So you figured you'd just wallop him?"

"Nosir, Allie figured she'd wallop'm. But Danny's got a hard head, and Allie started bawlin' after, 'cause her hand hurt so bad. An' then Danny understood he'd just gotten wailed on by a girl, so he started tuggin' on Allie's pigtails harder. An' that's when we tussled."

I put a hand on the covers above Zach's knee and felt my shoulders slump. For reasons I couldn't understand, lately the shoulders were the first to go. Zach saw that slouch. He said nothing and I pretended nothing was wrong, even if there was no hiding my sagging cheeks and the way the skin beneath my eyes looked like tiny potato sacks.

"Think what you did was right?" I asked.

I believe Zach thought yes. He was smart enough to say no.

"I don't ever want you to go looking for trouble, son. You go looking for trouble, trouble always finds you. Now I appreciate you standing up to a bully, but next time you go tell Miss Cole before you take your fists out. Okay?"

"Yessir." Then, "Is Momma mad?"

I said, "Your momma was once a girl like Allie," and left it at that. Sharing how I'd once caught a boy peeking up Kate's skirt while she was on the monkey bars would serve no purpose, especially since I'd walloped him a good one that day. "Now it being Friday and you being more in the right, the principal said you can come on to school Monday. But I expect you to make peace."

Zach pursed his lips. "It was real peaceful when Danny was holdin' his jaw."

I offered a smile filtered through a yawn I couldn't swallow. "That's not the peace I mean. Now say your prayers."

Zach closed his left eye to match his right and began with his customary, "Dear God, this's Zach ..." His words were soft like a lullaby, and sitting there I felt my body grow heavier. I took a deep breath and pinched my arm.

"An' I'm sorry I whupped Danny Blackwell, God," Zach finished. "But I reckon I ain't a whole lot sorry, because he's plain ornery and I like Allie Granderson just fine a men."

I smiled again and said, "Amen."

Zach opened his eye and winced. He traced a finger parallel to the cut on his lip.

"Reckon I'll scar, Daddy?"

"I think by morning you'll give your momma a fright, but I doubt you'll scar."

He reached for the arm I was using to prop myself up and turned it to the lamplight. A thick ridge of pale skin no wider than Zach's fingernail stretched from just inside my elbow to near my wrist.

"I wish I could have a scar like yours," he said. "It's cool. Allie says scars make the man."

"I mean to make sure you never have a scar like this," I whispered. "That's why we had to have this little talk. Now you get on to sleep." I bent and kissed Zach's head, careful of the bad places. What came next were the words I said to my son every night, what every child should hear from his father and what I never heard from my own. "I love you, and I'm proud of you."

"Love you and proud too, Daddy."

I stepped over the quiet town lying in shadow on the floor and left Zach to sleep. Kate waited under the covers in the next room. The thick ringed binder that was her constant companion leaned open against her raised knees. Her almond eyes were bunched, and her finger twirled at the ends of hair as black and smooth as a raven's wing. She might as well have been back in high school, cramming for a test.

"Something preying on your mind, miss?" I asked.

She looked up from a worn page. "More than one thing. How'd it go?"

"As good as it could. He'll make peace Monday."

She closed the notebook and clicked off her bedside lamp as I eased into bed. "You tell him about coming to my rescue in the second grade when Bobby Barnes tried to get a look at my underwear?"

"Seeing as how that would defeat the purpose, I left that part out." I settled in and added, "Last thing I want is the sins of the father being visited on the son."

I sighed as smells of green grass and Easter breezes rose from the pillow. Frogs sang along a prattling creek beyond the open window. Far away a train whistled as it lumbered through the center of town. I was nearly gone, and I both welcomed and feared the going. Kate took my hand beneath the covers.

"Jake Barnett, you are the best man I've ever known." She paused before voicing what else had been preying on her mind: "Will you sleep?"

Part of me—the same wishful thinking that would reach for a ringing phone in the middle of the night believing it was just a wrong number—said, "Yes."

"Maybe they'd go away if you just talked to me."

Maybe, I thought. But there had been little talk of they in the past weeks, at least on my part, just as there had been little talk of Kate's notebook over the years on hers. I guess that's how it is in most marriages. You learn what to talk about and what to leave alone, what to share and what to hold close. We were no different. Our lives both together and apart had taught us the same undeniable fact—secrets make people who they are.

I brought our joined hands up, turning mine to kiss hers. "Know what I love most about you?"

"Mmm?"

"Your hand fits perfect in mine."

With Zach asleep in the next room and Kate nearly there ("Wake me if you need me," she mumbled, to which I replied I wouldn't because there would be no need), I struggled for words to send heavenward that would keep Phillip away. Simple prayer hadn't worked from the beginning, nor the desperate pleas in the weeks that followed. Now it had been a month, and my tired mind was twisted such that I no longer believed grace would end my nightmares, but some magical arrangement of vowels and consonants.

I reached beneath the covers and touched Kate's thigh, hoping her nearness would keep my sleep quiet. Or, if not, that her nearness would shame me into keeping quiet. In many ways, that was the worst part of what I suffered—not the dreams themselves, but those frantic bellows upon waking that betrayed a fear I'd long kept locked inside. I kissed the top of Kate's head and closed my eyes. The last whisper on my lips was a petition for rest now, rest finally, that I would sleep, and then I wake standing atop the pile of rocks along the riverbank and I know it's happening, it's happening again, and no prayer and no wishing can take me from this place—this grave. My home and bed and family are gone, left in some faraway place, and I know the distance between where I am and where I was is best measured in time rather than distance.

The Hollow lies in late day around me. An orange-red sun licks the tips of an endless sea of gnarled trees rising from the spoiled earth like punished souls. And there are butterflies, butterflies everywhere. White ones, covering the mound of rocks beneath me like fallen snow. They flap their wings opencloseopen in a hot, vapid wind that engulfs me. But even that sight does not frighten me as much as the sight of who lies at my feet.

Phillip. Always Phillip.

My eyes dip to his sprawled body. The hood of his sweatshirt is pulled tight, hiding his face. His arms and legs splay out at grotesque slants, his right hand reaching for the glasses that have fallen near the swirling river. I fight my thoughts, trying to push away the knowing that Phillip reached for his glasses because he wanted to see, and yet I think it nonetheless because that's what I thought that day.

Beside me, a sharp rock the size of a deflated basketball lies atop the pile. I pick the stone up and lay it on one of Phillip's broken arms. I turn, knowing another stone has taken the place of the one I just moved, another always does, because this is a nightmare and it's always this nightmare and please, God, wake me before Phillip speaks.

I heft the sharp rock I find at my feet, feeling the strain in my back. It goes over Phillip's head and face. The next conceals most of his bloody shorts, the stones after cover his legs and feet, on and on, stone after stone, just as I've done every night for the last thirty. And just as all those other nights, when I heft the final stone that will cover Phillip forever, I turn to see his body lying fresh upon the others I've just laid. And from beneath the sweatshirt's hood comes a pained voice that is soft and far away:

You can't do it, Jake, he says.

I shrink back in horror. The butterflies twitch and flutter

(opencloseopen)

and I shake my head NO, NO this cannot be, and I bend to where another stone has appeared. I place it over Phillip's arm, building the pile ever higher.

You can't, Jake. Do you know why?

I weep. I weep because I do know and because Phillip has told me before and he'll tell me again.

Because you're a dead man, Jake. You're a dead man and he's coming and you'll remember true, because I want an end.

I look over my shoulder and around the river's bend, all the way to where the tall cone of Indian Hill rises beyond. No one is coming.

He is, Jake. I'm coming too. I'm coming for you and you're a dead man. See? I have something for you.

Phillip reaches out with the fist I've not yet covered. His fingers turn upward to the sky as the white butterflies around us leap. I scream. It is a howling wail swallowed by flapping wings that sound as thunder in the twilight around us. I tumble down the pile of rocks that cannot cover Phillip McBride and run toward the hill, toward home, and though I always say I will not stumble, I always do because I once did. My feet slip and spill me forward, and I feel the skin between the elbow and wrist of my left arm rip open against the rocks. There is no time to lie in shock of the blood that spills from that wound, no time to think of what I've done, because Phillip's heavy footfalls come behind me and I hear him say that he's coming, he's coming and I'm dead. His dead hand grabs hold of me, pulling, and I cried out into the pillow beneath my face.

The hand on me was Kate's. It was her screams I heard. Not simply out of fear for me, but for the blood dripping from my scarred left arm.


• 2 •

Kate Barnett let the phone ring three times that next morning, unsure why anyone would squander their Saturday by calling the sheriff's office on purpose. She eased her left hand to her mouth to stifle a yawn, spotted a dollop of Jake's dried blood on her fingertips, and wiped them on her jeans. The blood was still there when she brought her hand back and the phone chirped for the second time. By the third, Kate had already replayed the previous night in her thoughts: how she had bandaged her husband's arm and it had taken her an hour to calm him down, how it had then taken another for Jake to calm her, and how they had both finished the night as they had every night for the past month—her asleep in bed, Jake waiting for the sun from the porch rocker.

She picked up the phone before it could ring again and found herself in the middle of her usual "Sheriff's office, this is Kate." The voice that greeted her was Timmy Griffith's, Kate's brother and owner of the Texaco on the outskirts of town. Their conversation was brief, and Kate said she'd be right over. She tried calling Jake, wanting to ask how he was and where he was and how long he would be, but got only his voicemail. Doc March was at the office, having stopped by at Kate's request to check Zach's eye. The doc volunteered to help man phones that likely wouldn't ring. Zach leaped at the chance to be in charge and bid his mother to go, especially upon his discovery of why his momma was in such a rush.

Timmy had a name to give her.

Kate made the drive across town to the Texaco and gathered her notebook from the seat of her rusting Chevy truck. She found Timmy waiting behind the counter. He dried his giant paws on a red-and-white checkered apron three sizes too small. Kate stifled a grin at the bits of chicken breading dangling from the front. Timmy called himself an entrepreneur and the Texaco a modern convenience store. Kate had misgivings about the former (she knew few entrepreneurs who kept both a shotgun and a spit cup under the counter), but she harbored no doubts of the latter. Not that it counted for much, but the Texaco was the most technologically able business in Mattingly.

She tilted her chin up and kissed Timmy's cheek. "I see you're busy this morning."

"Hey, sis," Timmy said. "Thanks for coming by."

"Always a pleasure. So you got a name for me?"

"I do—Lucy Seekins."

Kate sat the binder atop the counter and flipped through the thick stack of papers. The earliest entries were all but faded and saved from disintegration only by the thick layer of Scotch tape that preserved them. The names on those first pages had been written in a young and idealistic script—i's dotted with tiny hearts, smiley faces that marked successes—and corresponded to dates that began shortly after Phillip's death. She turned to a page with 211 scrawled in the upper right corner and wrote Lucy's name.

"Don't think I know her," she said. "I'll have to do some digging."

Timmy said, "No need," and pointed through the doors behind her. "Lives across the street."

Kate looked up but not around. "The Kingman house?"

"The very one. Moved in back before school started. Don't know much about her daddy, never seen her momma. Divorced, I guess. Lucy's in here quite a bit, though. Seen that black Beemer around town?"

"That's hers?"

He nodded. "Lucy's on her own mostly. Dad works. Chased her outta here a few days ago for trying to swipe smokes and drinks. Told her I'd call Jake if I caught her in here again. She's trouble if I've ever seen it. Always got a different boy with her too."

That last bit piqued Kate's interest. "Who are the boys?"

"Johnny Adkins, lately. I told him Lucy was trouble and that I might have to let his daddy know. The rest of 'em?" Timmy shrugged. "You'd know before I would. From what I've seen, it's anyone who'll give her the time of day. She's walking a fine line, Katie. Just go talk to her. You don't have to do any sneaking about."

Kate tapped her fingernails on the counter. She certainly felt sorry for the girl (which wasn't saying much, Kate generally felt sorry for everyone), but she knew there was little she could offer. Folk who drove fancy cars and lived in fancy houses were not the sort Kate tended to.

Still, it was a name.

"Okay," she said. "I'll go."

Timmy beamed. It was all white teeth and pink gums.

"Still coming tonight?" Kate asked.

"Might be late, but I'll be there."

"Good. Call me later."

Kate pecked her brother's cheek again and left, waving to the driver of an old John Deere as she pulled out and across the road. Her truck kicked up a cloud of dust against a clear morning sky as it pulled up Kingman Hill. She stopped at the mouth of a large driveway in the shadow of the towering maples and magnolias that circled the old stone manor. A cobbled walk led to a set of massive concrete steps. A ten-speed bicycle stood there, its tires worn and its handlebars duct taped. Kate climbed the steps to a wide porch and took in her surroundings. There were no rocking chairs or swings from which to enjoy the view, which covered not only the Texaco but most of Mattingly's downtown and the mountains beyond. The lawn was thick and lush and bore no signs of play. The old flower gardens lay barren. The bicycle below her seemed the only thing on the hill that had recently been used.


(Continues...)

Excerpted from the devil walks in mattingly by Billy Coffey. Copyright © 2014 Billy Coffey. Excerpted by permission of Thomas Nelson.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 20 )
Rating Distribution

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(13)

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Sort by: Showing all of 20 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 14, 2014

    Highly recommend

    A beautifully written tale that slowly seduces you and draws you in until you feel as if you live in Mattingly. I appreciative the prose and skillful tale telling. The story is long but will leave you feeling richly rewarded for your time

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 2, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I very much enjoyed this book. I can't explain why some books gr

    I very much enjoyed this book. I can't explain why some books grab my attention better than others. Maybe it's the way the author writes. Maybe it's the story line or the content. Maybe it's a throw-away phrase on the backmatter that beckoned me. Or maybe it's all the above tightly woven into a complex novel that registers on a deeply emotional level.

    This isn't a book that should be read as quickly as possible. This is a deep, rich novel filled with nuggets of wisdom and truth that must be chewed on and thought about. Applied to our own lives. There is so much, so many lessons in this story, it's hard for me to put it all into one single review. This is a read-again, think-again type of novel. One that helps put the past into perspective and allows ourselves to reach out to God and ask for the forgiveness He so willingly offers. Especially when it's so difficult for us to forgive ourselves for our own heinous past.

    Have you ever heard someone say, "If I'd do anything in my life over, it'd be..." and out pours some past regrets of something they did or didn't do? Now, what if you had pulled a senseless prank on someone and had to live with the awful consequences for the rest of your life? Would you allow your regrets to consume you and change your future? Or would you know that choice rather than fate governs our lives and those actions are the ones that will define us for what we would become?

    Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone stumbles and falls. Bad things happen to good people. We all must live with the consequences of our actions; whether good or bad. Such is the case with Jake and Kate Barnett and Taylor Hathcock.

    I've read my fair share of scary books, but I am convinced the scariest antagonist of a novel is one who is more than insane (if that's possible) and believes all the evil acts he/she does is God's will and is the right thing. The ones who look like us but who have been pushed or bullied so much and treated so badly that they break into a million scattered, hurting pieces that can only hurt in retaliation. The pitiful ones. The saddest ones who make each of us stop and remember all the terrible things we said or did as kids to others who were a little different.

    "Am I good?"
    "There is none good. There is only grace. Mercy and forgiveness." <~ No truer words were ever spoken.
    Highly recommend.

    *My thanks to the publisher who provided me a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. These thoughts are my own and I was not required they be positive.*

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 1, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The Devil Walks In Mattingly By: Billy Coffey Billy Coffey is a

    The Devil Walks In Mattingly
    By: Billy Coffey

    Billy Coffey is an author I will read over and over. The Devil Walks In Mattingly happens four years before When Mockingbirds Sing, but you can read his books in any order. Each story stands alone.

    Jake Barnett, Kate Barnett, and Taylor Hathcock are the only ones who really know what happened to Phillip McBride. Was it a suicide like everyone thinks or did something more sinister happen? Jake, Kate, Taylor, and Phillip are forged together due to their pasts, but then something goes terribly wrong that follows them the rest of their days. Now their past is here to haunt them in the here and now.

    “We all had secrets we kept and lies we told, and often the greatest among them were the ones we kept from and told to ourselves.” Happy Hollow, the place where nightmares are born. The past, where anything was possible. The present, where the past comes back to set right the actions of the past. Redemption may never be found, but the end is coming. Some people run from their pasts; others live it in. But when the past comes at you, it’s time to face it head on.

    Like to read a suspenseful mystery thriller? This is the one book you have to read. Once you start it, you won’t dare put it down until you know the last detail of what happened twenty years ago.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 11, 2014

    Not great

    Preachy without being clever, The Devil Walks in Mattingly falls flat. The early on mystique that keeps the reader satiated at first is not enough to save this symbolism in your face , over the top flop.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Billy Coffey in his new book ¿The Devil Walks In Mattingly¿ Book

    Billy Coffey in his new book “The Devil Walks In Mattingly” Book Two in the Mattingly series published by Thomas Nelson takes us back to the town of Mattingly.




    From the back cover:   For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man’s untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.




    It has been twenty years since Philip McBride’s body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since—Philip didn’t kill himself that day. He was murdered.




    Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly’s sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.




    Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake’s dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.




    Twenty years ago Philip McBride committed suicide.  However that is not true he was actually murdered and three individuals have kept that a secret.  The problem is there is a certain weight that go with the carrying of this kind of secret and, after twenty years, it is beginning to crush them.  All three of them are trying to repent of their sin by their works and that is never going to accomplish anything.  The only one who can forgive sin is God and it is going to take their repentance and His forgiveness to restore these three persons back to health.  That is if they survive that long.  Mr. Coffey does a superb job of making each character come alive so that we feel what they feel. This is a gripping story that will keep you flipping pages late into the night until you finish it.  I recommend this book highly and look forward to a return to Mattingly.




    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group.   I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 8, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A Haunting Tale of Mystery, Small Town Secrets, Regrets and Rede

    A Haunting Tale of Mystery, Small Town Secrets, Regrets and Redemption




    “The Devil Walks in Mattingly” encourages the reader to identify with key characters disillusioned by the crippling impact of the darkness of regret, the insecurity of self-doubt, and the struggle to move forward after the death of Philip Mc Bride.




    Author Billy Coffey left me with a lingering sense of reliving my own past shedding light on events, thought long forgotten, and their dramatic impact on my personal choices, core values, their limitations on my accomplishment and their inspiration leading to current successes, self-worth, and healthy relationships.




    Coffey writes with a n intensity and conviction that reaches deep into the heart, producing self-revelation, higher aspirations, a stronger sense of commitment to purpose, and a better understanding of God’s grace,  forgiveness, and redemption.



    A complimentary copy of this book was provided for review purposes. The opinions expressed are my own.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Love it!

    I just can't seem to put Billy Coffey's books down! Love the story, love the message.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2014

    The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey. Three people stru

    The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey.
    Three people struggle to overcome the guilt they feel from one day in high school. Each of them must do what is humanly possible to save the town from the downward spiral that is effecting everyone. As completely different people that played a part in this event they have each found a way to be better people….that now doesn’t seem to be enough. Each has recently become haunted in their waking and sleeping hours. This is no time to be exhausted and worn out.
    I did enjoy the story line and the authors’ writing style but I was not as impressed with the book. It seems like the author used the same story over and over just to make the book longer. There was 200 pages of guilt before I got to what I really wanted to know. I think if the author had used a bit more imagination or had added a second punch to the book I might have a different view.
    This book was provided by booksneeze and published by Thomas Nelson Publishing company in exchange for a honest opinion. Everything I wrote was my opinion of the book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Do you remember the time you picked up a book by an author that

    Do you remember the time you picked up a book by an author that you hadn’t read?  The queasiness
     and unease that you felt?  Should you spend the money on the unknown author, or pick up the book by
     an author that you already know that you’ll enjoy the book?  Those were the feelings that I had after I
    requested this book.  Come with me and let’s peel the cover back together and find out if I made the right
     choice or not.

    Three lives forever changed by the death of one young man.  Three lives searching for redemption but not
     expecting it to ever be extended to them.  As they all struggle with the guilt that comes from this single
     event, things begin to take on a strange life of their own.  Jake know what was happening but did nothing,
     his wife, Kate, shares his guilt over what has happened and Taylor is starting to come apart.  As
    super-natural occurrences continue in Happy Hollow, the three of them have increasingly hard times
     figuring truth from fiction.  Did one of them really kill Phillip?  Will forgiveness be extended to any of them,
     do them even deserve it?  Is the happenings real or is it just their guilt manifesting itself into reality?  
    Don’t keep your head up in the holler, go BUY THIS BOOK!!

    I will admit that this book was tough to get into and tough to follow.  The writing style of the author is more
     poetic and rhythmic than I’m normally used to reading.  The characters and descriptions provided are very
     detailed and specific.  This tends to bog down my enjoyment as sometimes I think authors can provide
     too much information as they are establishing their story.  The plot of “Thin Places” is a new one to me,
     so this book was interesting and not something that I have read before, so from that aspect this was new
     and kept me coming back for more.  The mystery and supernatural elements are pretty obvious, but the
     Christian element is left in the background.

    Is this a "guy's book"?  This book does not provide you with all of the normal mind-blowing, car-chasing
     suspense novels that I normally review on here.  This is more of an allegory, but one that tells a great
     story if you can slow your pace down to fully enjoy what the author is trying to share with you.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Litfuse Publicity Group, as part of their
    Book Review Blogger Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed
     are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255:
     “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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  • Posted March 28, 2014

    What a novel! I'm ready for another supernatural thriller by Bil

    What a novel! I'm ready for another supernatural thriller by Billy Coffey, his style of writing is amazing. The ending is just as amazing. 




    Something terrible happened in the past and it's effecting people years later. Set in the charming south this secret has taken its toll on those who know the truth. This is more than a murder mystery, my heart was touched throughout the book. Read it! 




    I received a copy of this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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  • Posted March 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    A Story of Redemption, Grace and Forgiveness. Billy Coffee's ne

    A Story of Redemption, Grace and Forgiveness.

    Billy Coffee's newest novel, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, is a story of redemption, grace, forgiveness.  However, before we get to the redemptive part, there is a lot of reminiscing about the guilt, the should have's, the if only's, the covering up's and the regrets of lives that didn't deserve grace and redemption.

    Because there's a lot of looking backwards, the beginning starts with “the end.” Billy weaves a story that takes teenagers with marred lives and others who make foolish choices showing how so many things in the past can ruin and color our lives in the future.  How we treat people affects not only their lives but our own.
    But what do we do with the regret, the unconfessed sins? Do we try to fix it by helping others, and working off the guilt debt? Or do we bury those memories only to be haunted in our dreams?  

    A town's peaceful life is turned upside down by someone who's memories have soured them; long held grudges have led them to return for revenge.
    It is this horrific crime that will unlock the hearts and bring them to a point of grace and redemption, but is it too late for some?  The town of Mattingly will never be the same.

    Thomas Nelson provided this book for review, but I believe you will enjoy this twisted tale of redemption.

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  • Posted March 14, 2014

    One of my reading goals for this year is to branch out from my u

    One of my reading goals for this year is to branch out from my usual reading habits and try some new-to-me books and authors.

    The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey fits all those criteria, and though I was afraid I'd have to only read this book during the day or when my husband was home, it turns out I had nothing to fear. (Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for my review.)

    In the sleepy town of Mattingly, Virginia, where nothing much out of the ordinary happens, three of its residents go about their lives but are haunted by an event 20 years in the past. It was the day teenager Philip McBride died. His death was ruled a suicide but these three know the truth: he was killed. Jake Barnett carries shame for what happened that day and how he'll never be the man anyone else wants him to be. His wife, Kate, spends her days logging good deeds done for the poor and unfortunate of Mattingly, hoping it will outweigh the guilt she feels for her part in Philip's death. And Taylor Hathcock, a mountain recluse, believes in his madness the time has come to make it all right.

    Plagued by dreams and visions and events that don't make sense, the three are drawn together to reveal the truth that will surprise them all.

    And I can't say anymore because I'll give too much away!

    What I can say is that Coffey's writing is some of the best I've ever read. He creates deep character points-of-view using a blend of first- and third-person. It was like seeing inside their minds. And he crafts some of the most beautiful sentences I've had the pleasure of reading. He brings to the page the unique pace and wording of the Virginia dialect--philosophical, observational, straightforward, and down-to-earth. It can't be easy to create such believable prose. It was not limited to dialogue. The whole book was full of these gently rolling sentences full of truth.

    Consider these words from the opening page:

    I come to this place of darkness because it is where the light of heaven once touched. I come here for the ones who were saved on a night long ago and for the ones lost. I come because heaven is not without the past.

    Even as I re-read the first pages, which are titled "The End," I noticed clues to the story I hadn't picked up on at first. The Devil Walks in Mattingly is layered, and I think reading it through once won't be enough.

    While I was waiting for the book to arrive, I visited Billy Coffey's website to get a feel for this new-to-me author. Check it out. He had me at "hello," basically, with his talk of front porches and hospitality. I'm planning another trip to Mattingly in the near future. (A note in the book said that all his novels take place in Mattingly.)

    Will this book give you nightmares? No. Will it make you uncomfortable at times? Yes. Will it leave you with hope? Definitely.

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  • Posted March 11, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    As I finished the latest novel from Billy Coffey, The Devil Walk

    As I finished the latest novel from Billy Coffey, The Devil Walks in Mattingly, I remember what he told me when I interviewed him on what the reader would find in this one. He told me it will be much darker. And it is. Much darker!

    To those of you that are looking for a happy story of some facet of Billy's walk in life, this is NOT that novel. Ir reminds me in fact of the opening line that Jude Law narrates for Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events, "Dear reader, there are people in the world who know no misery and woe. And they take comfort in cheerful films about twittering birds and giggling elves. There are people who know that there's always a mystery to be solved. And they take comfort in researching and writing down any important evidence. But this story is not about such people.The movie you are about to see is extremely unpleasant. If you wish to see a film about a happy little elf, I'm sure there is still plenty of seating in theatre number two."

    This novel is actually the prequel to Billy's third novel, When Mockingbird Sings. I've been a huge fan of Billy's since the days I first came across his stories on his Blog, "What I Learned Today", and fell in love with his uncanny abililty to do more than just tell a great story. He makes it come alive and makes you part of the action. I wanted to run ahead and read The Devil Walks in Mattingly as fast as possible, because you will always come away changed after reading ANY of his books. This one was NO different, however much like a race horse yearning to run ahead at the start of the gun, this one held me back restrained. No matter how much I wanted to run ahead, this one made me go slow. To say this novel is deep and dark, is an understatement. I believe it's Billy's finest examples of just how versatile of a writer he truly is.

    I liken this novel to something a bit of a blend between Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe and M. Night Shyalmalan's Sixth Sense. This is about what we all face when dealing with the guilt of sin in our lives. Especially in this case where the murder of a young boy, Phillip McBride that happened twenty years ago, is now being felt in the town of Mattingly, Virginia by those with guilty consciences, the local sheriff, Jake Barnett, his wife, Kate, and the recluse that lives in Happy Hollow, Taylor Hathcock. Each of them believes that they have had a hand in the murder of Phillip and each have found a coping method that is slowly unraveling at the seams.

    For Jake, he is trying to avoid confrontation at all costs in his job as Mattingly's sheriff, including the apprehension of his own father, Justus wanted for the murder of three men. Jake is haunted by nightmares of that fateful day by Phillip to deprives him not only of sleep but in moving forward in his life. Phillip is the spectre with a warning that he is coming back for him and Kate, and no one will escape. But is it really happening or it just the over active imagination of a guilty conscience?

    Kate is stuck making amends for her guilt, one I related to the most. She keeps a notebook of all the young people she has helped to atone for her sin. She is hoping one day, she will achieved enough good deeds to make up for the one she can't apologize for and for the innocent loss of life she claimed that day when her prank took an unexpected turn on the last day of high school.

    For Taylor, he spends his days waiting for just the right moment to "wake" them all up. He suffers from a mental snap and believes that the life his is living is merely a dream and that he is the only one who can help them all. He cautiously spies upon the sleepy residents of Mattingly knowing that the day is close at hand. The one event that brings things to life is the day footprints appear in the Hollow from a protective grove that Taylor is the keeper of, that lead back to Mattingly and back to her. Now he just needs to find the clues to piece it all together, but this will also bring to the town of Mattingly, an evil they have never experienced before and one that will forever change the town.

    I received The Devil Walks in Mattingly by Billy Coffey, compliments of Thomas Nelson Publishers for my honest review. I did not receive any monetary compensation for a favorable review and the opinions expressed in this review are strictly my own, unless otherwise noted. This is a novel that showcases much more than a well written story. It shows how far guilt can carry us if we allow it to fester unresolved. It also teaches us the power of forgiveness. People often say that forgiveness is for others, but I beg to differ, it is for us that have been wronged instead. There is freedom in being able to forgive those who have wronged us, no matter what has happened. Those who can't are likely Jake, Kate and Taylor who are stuck feeling justified in keeping those feelings locked inside, and thus become more trapped and tormented than anyone should ever have to. By the time, you get to the end of this one, you will understand what grace truly is and how much freedom there is in forgiveness before you can ever move forward. In my opinion, by far, Billy's finest novel to date. There is such maturity in his writing this novel that is unparallelled in anything I have read and thus the reason for my 5 out of 5 stars. Looking forward to going even deeper Billy!

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  • Posted March 11, 2014

    I found myself still thinking about this book a few days after f

    I found myself still thinking about this book a few days after finishing it. When you get right down to it, this story was about love, repentance, forgiveness, and how secrets and guilt can slowly erode any happiness in life.

    The characterization in this book was outstanding. Every character had their own distinct personality and really seemed to come alive as I read the story - not just the MCs, but the supporting players also, and I think everyone can relate in some way to both Jake and Kate and their reasons for keeping secrets. The setting, a small town in the hollows of the Virginia mountains, was ideal.

    Going into the story, the reader knows something horrible happened in the past, and the truth is revealed, but very gradually. What is perceived as the truth by one may not be the same for all and discovering what it actually was kept me glued to these pages. This was a dark example of how our actions, regretful or not, can affect a multitude of lives for many years to come.

    At times, the writing was poetic, even profound, and I would reread some sections numerous times. I would recommend this book to readers that can appreciate a slower buildup in their books and the journey along the way, with a little supernatural kick thrown in.
    This review is based on a digital copy provided by the publisher through NetGalley.

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  • Posted March 10, 2014

    I became a fan of Billy Coffey's writing years ago, devouring hi

    I became a fan of Billy Coffey's writing years ago, devouring his regular blog posts before he published his first book.

    Then came Snow Day, Paper Angels and When Mockingbirds Sing.  I have savoured each novel, always looking forward to the next. 

    The Devil Walks in Mattingly is a deeper, darker tale, previewed on the back cover with the following words:

    "For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man's untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive."

    As I writer, I read not only for content, but for the taste and feel of the words themselves. I was not disappointed, like his other works, from beginning to end, Billy's prose remains stunningly lyrical.

    "I come to this place of darkness because it is where the light of heaven once touched. I come here for the ones who were saved on a night long ago and for the ones lost.  

    I come because heaven is not without the past."

    These are characters that dug their way into my heart, both heroes and antiheroes.  My concern for each kept me turning page after page, hungry to discover what would happen next.  I was moved in the darkness to each shining patch of light.

    My only complaint is that this novel deprived me of sleep and distracted me from my own work.  Yes, it IS that good. 

    You owe it to yourself to read The Devil Walks in Mattingly as well as Billy's older books, and make sure to catch up with him on his blog What I Learned Today where he shares day to day truths with home town warmth and skill.

    I was blessed to receive a copy of this novel to review.  The opinions I have shared, as always, are my own.  

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 3, 2014

    The Devil Walks in Mattingly Billy Coffey Thomas Nelson March 11

    The Devil Walks in Mattingly
    Billy Coffey
    Thomas Nelson
    March 11, 2014








    {About the Book}




    For the three people tortured by their secret complicity in a young man's untimely death, redemption is what they most long for . . . and the last thing they expect to receive.




    It has been twenty years since Philip McBride's body was found along the riverbank in the dark woods known as Happy Hollow. His death was ruled a suicide. But three people have carried the truth ever since--Philip didn't kill himself that day. He was murdered.




    Each of the three have wilted in the shadow of their sins. Jake Barnett is Mattingly's sheriff, where he spends his days polishing the fragile shell of the man he pretends to be. His wife, Kate, has convinced herself the good she does for the poor will someday wash the blood from her hands. And high in the mountains, Taylor Hathcock lives in seclusion and fear, fueled by madness and hatred.




    Yet what cannot be laid to rest is bound to rise again. Philip McBride has haunted Jake's dreams for weeks, warning that he is coming back for them all. When Taylor finds mysterious footprints leading from the Hollow, he believes his redemption has come. His actions will plunge the quiet town of Mattingly into darkness. These three will be drawn together for a final confrontation between life and death . . . between truth and lies.




















    {My Review}




    I'll be completely honest, I haven't read Billy Coffey's previous title. However, I've heard and read a lot of great things about Billy's books and writing style. And I'll tell you that this book was well worth waiting for. The Devil Walks in Mattingly was jam-packed with suspense, mystery and some action. The Devil Walks in Mattingly is definitely the perfect fit for any suspense and mystery fan.

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    Posted March 6, 2014

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    Posted March 11, 2014

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    Posted June 23, 2014

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