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Those Across the River

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Overview


Haunted by memories of the Great War, failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate—the Savoyard Plantation—and the horrors that occurred there. At first their new life seems to be everything they wanted. But under the facade of summer socials and small-town charm, there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for ...
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Those Across the River

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Overview


Haunted by memories of the Great War, failed academic Frank Nichols and his wife have arrived in the sleepy Georgia town of Whitbrow, where Frank hopes to write a history of his family’s old estate—the Savoyard Plantation—and the horrors that occurred there. At first their new life seems to be everything they wanted. But under the facade of summer socials and small-town charm, there is an unspoken dread that the townsfolk have lived with for generations. A presence that demands sacrifice.
 
It comes from the shadowy woods across the river, where the ruins of the Savoyard Plantation still stand. Where a long-smoldering debt of blood has never been forgotten.

Where it has been waiting for Frank Nichols…

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Buehlman packs suspense and secrets into his debut novel, set in the deceptively quiet fictional town of Whitbrow, Ga., just after the Great Depression. When unemployed soldier Frank Nichols inherits a house from his last living relative, he ignores the disjointed note from his deceased aunt warning him away and moves in along with his girlfriend, Dora. At first, everything is idyllic, but as Frank uncovers strange superstitions concerning the woods across the river—the site of his great-grandfather's plantation—the mysterious inhabitants of those woods are starting to take notice of him. The era is vividly rendered, complete with Jim Crow laws, vigilante justice, and racial tensions. The elegant prose and heavy foreshadowing keep readers on their toes right up until the big reveal, but once the monster is out of the bag, the novel clumsily muscles its way to a formulaic finale. (Sept.)
Linda Marotta
I won't give away the specifics, but as the title suggests, this is a book that deals with the Other : black/white, city/country, civilized/savage. Complex enough for Freud yet primal as Peckinpah, part literary fiction, part primal folk tale, this is much more than a supernatural STRAW DOGS. Economic upheaval has a way of exposing the guilt and violence lurking just beneath the civilization's thin skin. Toss the haves in with the have-nots and see what kind of monsters crawl out.
Fangoria
Library Journal
College professor-turned-would be author Frank Nichols comes face to face with his past and a violent family secret when he inherits his family's old estate in the rural Southern town of Whitbrow. Although instructed to sell the house as soon as possible, Frank finds whispered stories of a slave-owning great grandfather who tortured his slaves for sport too compelling not to investigate. With his mistress, Dora, down-on-his-luck Frank moves south with plans to write about his family's history. After a town decision, influenced by Frank and Dora, to stop sending sacrificial pigs into the woods, strange and deadly things begin to happen. Something living in the woods wants the pigs to be sent and is making it known. When Frank has nothing left to lose, he starts to understand what it will take to overcome the thing in the woods. VERDICT Buehlman delivers a creepy, suspenseful, and well-crafted debut set in post-Depression era South. The action begins early and never lets up. Recommended for horror fans and those willing to be scared enough to want to stay out of the woods!—Amanda Scott, Cambridge Springs P.L., PA
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594460619
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/6/2011
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.30 (d)

Meet the Author

Christopher Buehlman

Christopher Buehlman is the winner of the 2007 Bridport Prize for Poetry and the author of two novels and several plays. His latest novel is Between Two Fires.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(34)

4 Star

(22)

3 Star

(10)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 9, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    More than just a horror novel

    Set in the early 1900's, an unwed couple from Chicago arrive in a small Georgia town. The kind of town where the Sheriff still rides a horse & everyone knows everyone else. The couple both have separate pasts & this small town is to be the beginning of their new lives. The town seems perfect at first, moved into Frank's dead aunt's house, they make friends, attend town hall meetings, and socials. Dora is the new school teacher & Frank intends to write a book about his family's past in a plantation nestled in the woods across the river. Nobody goes across the river though. And soon Frank & Dora learn there is a reason why. A reason that is connected to Frank's family and it's been waiting for him. Those Across The River will take you to a place long ago. You will get to know the majority of the people that live in town, and begin to feel like you are living there with them. The opening passage of the book is a hint to what is to come & you read eagerly, waiting for the moment when it will be revealed. When the horror begins, you are left on the edge of your seat as the entire town is thrown into disturbing chaos. I read this book in 3 days. I literally could not put it down. The characters, the town, and the history all bring this book to life. This isn't your typical blood & gore horror. This is intelligent, suspenseful, thrilling, emotional & quite simply, horror at its very best. An amazing first novel from the author!

    14 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2011

    Those Across the River

    Christopher Buehlman's masterful first novel is a moody and truly frightening journey into the deep south of the 1930's. Evoking Faulkner and Eudora Welty with his well hewn prose, he crafts a tale both moody and horrific. Frank Nichols is a philandering professor, escaping the failure of his academic career by moving from the north with his lover to an inherited ancestral home in the very isolated town of Whitbrow, Georgia. Frank inherited this house but was told by his dying aunt to NOT move there, just to sell it and to stay up north and enjoy the proceeds of the sale.

    Moving to Whitbrow was not a good idea for Frank, as he would discover to his misery. The results of his decision take some time to come to fruition, but in the end, they are disastrous for him and those he cares for. Buehlman takes his time building up to the grand reveal of just exactly why Frank should not have come home to Whitbrow, but when he does get there, it is very frightening. I was reading this late at night, alone, and had to put the book down and resume in the daytime.

    Well written, atmospheric and frightening, this book is all the more astonishing for being a first novel. The prose is assured and seems carefully chosen to evoke the mood and speech of the era and the location.Speaking as a southerner, this is very much appreciated.

    A terrific first novel. I can't wait until his second one arrives.

    JTB says check it out!

    8 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Clever, creepy, intense... You must read this!

    A wild ride through the rural south in the 1930's with all the local color and horror that that can entail, and then it just gets really good. I loved the poetic quality of the first part of the book and was completely surprised by the end. I loved this book and loan to all my friends. Read it!

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    This is an exciting horror thriller

    Former University of Michigan professor Frank Nichols accompanied by his almost wife Eudora travels from Chicago to Whitbrow, Georgia where he inherited a yellow house from an Aunt Dottie McComb whom he never knew existed. Dora dubs the place The Canary House. Frank plans to write the definitive historical about his family's Savoyard Plantation to include the atrocities that occurred there while Dora dislikes the idea of bringing literarily life to his late malevolent great grandfather.

    Frank and Dora find they enjoy the quiet friendliness of the townsfolk. Then the trouble begins as it has in past generations. Something evil is killing people. Frank and other locals vow to find out who or what and end the reign of terror that has waited dormant at Savoyard Plantation for Frank to arrive to pay a family blood debt.

    This is an exciting horror thriller that starts slow and meanders a bit as the local area is established. Once the rural Georgia background, which will remind readers of James Dickey's Deliverance even with tea socials, is set, the action-packed story line accelerates as the evil comes to collect. Frank holds the plot together as the prime focus of the dreaded malevolence.

    Harriet Klausner

    6 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 13, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    An excellent debut novel!

    This book was...well...amazing! I am so glad I was chosen by Net Galley to read this before it publishes on 9/6/2011. Honestly, when I first started reading it I thought oh how am I going to get through this one? I almost...almost...gave up on it after the first few chapters and here's why. I did not know it took place in the early 1900's for one so that kind of through me for a loop, second I took the description to mean that the book was centered around Frank writing this book and the troubled, evil family members he had had, third it jumped around a bit in the beginning and wasn't making sense to me. I am go glad I stuck with it because everything in the beginning came together as the story progressed. Yes, Frank has the intention of writing a book about the history of his family and the land they lived on but it is so much more than that. It is en-depth and descriptive. I felt like I was in that same time era, could see what the characters saw, and smell what they smelled. The characters, for the most part, are likable and people you would be friends with if you could go back in time. The town members come together to fight an evil that has been residing in the woods and across the river for many many years but only raises it's ugly head when Frank and his soon to be wife Dora move from Chicago to Whitbrow, as Frank is left a house in Whitbrow by the death of an aunt he didn't know. As adults and children alike are found dead, the men are determined to find the who or what is responsible. Though out this book I was on the edge of my seat, had a death grip on my nook, flinched, cringed, felt horror, and felt sympathy as things start coming together. This debut novel by Christopher Buehlman is a must read and I look forward to more from him in the future.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2012

    Unexpected Story line

    Good start about an author writing a book about a Civil War General who owned a plantation run by slaves. But the actual story line delves into science fiction and possession by werewolves. Keeps your interest until the end.

    3 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    You will not be sorry you bought this book

    Some people hear "horror genre" and think "I'll pass" (that's usually me). This is no gratuitous horror story. Yes, it will scare the bejeeziz out of you. But the depth of historical detail, brilliant imagery, crisp dialogue, well-crafted characters and rhythm like a Native American drum will absolutely entrance you on your walk into hell. Hope it's Buehlman's first of many.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 24, 2012

    Ridiculous. Not scary and the promising turn point ends up being

    Ridiculous. Not scary and the promising turn point ends up being far fetched and silly.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 22, 2012

    Southern Gothic Horror Story

    Recommended for fans of Southern Gothic lit, I loved the playful humor of the banter between characters and the voice of narrator of the story. Humor and horror, when properly blended are like sweet and savory complements -- it's a difficult balance, but well handled here.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2011

    Not a ghost story

    Do not read if you want a ghost story. The careful steps and build up to the climax of the novel are overshadowed by a terrible reveal.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 15, 2011

    Great book

    Amazing first book from a talented author. Good characterization and story. Chris Buehlman will be a famous one day soon.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 22, 2011

    Scary

    Not a good idea to read late into the night. It said horror book and it was a nightmare. Very well told nightmare.
    Frank and Eudora moved into a house in Whitbrow that his aunt had left him. She also wrote a letter to sell the house dont ever go their.
    Frank was a collage professor and had an affair with a student Eudora who was married to another professor.
    Frank lost his job and Eudora just got her license to teach and had a hard time in 30's to get a job.
    So Eudora got offered a teaching job in Whitbrow and Frank decided to write a book about an ancestor that owned a plantation across their that he was a slave owner and killed and torched slaves. His slaves ended up killing him. He also was a general in the civil war.
    The town had a weird habit twice a month they met after church they called it the chase. They would get two pigs put garlands of flowers on them and ferry them across the river and chase them into the woods. Then take a collection plate for the farmer whose turn to donate the pigs. The town had been doing it for decades.
    Times were tough all around and they voted and debated if they should quit it now or not and voted to end it.
    Then something had attacked and killed a boy then ate him. Then they tracked his killer with dogs to the woods to a black man and they hanged him.
    Then all the dogs that had tracked where killed.
    Then one of the Aldermans that voted to end the chase died.
    Somebody had dug up all the dead and put them in the school house in the chairs. Some where the freshly dead but others where just bones. Written on the chalkboard was SEND THE PIGS.
    Things started getting worse and worser. I can't say I enjoyed the book, but I had to keep reading to find out what was really going on. I prefer lighter books. So if you like to be scared this book should do the trick. I was given this ebook in exchange for honest review.

    2 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    Not sure if I liked this book........

    The book was okay, I expected more story...the plot is given about three chapters after the reader figures out the plot.....the story could haved ended three times before it comes toa slow open ended finish.....I guessed I liked it but not sure I would tell someon else to pick this up for a summer read........

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 27, 2012

    AWESOME READ!

    I read this book in a couple days while camping with my family.
    I hated having to put it down to do family activities. It is a page-turner and held my interest throughout the whole book......

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 15, 2011

    The story, which begins in the early '30's, immediately creates interest and curiosity in the reader. What horror is living in the woods near town?

    Frank Nichols and Eudora Chambers have moved into their castle in Whitbrow, GA, after being basically banished from Ann Arbor, MI. Will it be their nightmare or their dream home? Eudora had been married to another professor at the University of Michigan, until Orville Francis fell in love with her, and she fell in love with him. He consequently lost his job. Neither could find gainful employment. Their circumstances were growing grim. In what seems a fortuitous event, he inherits a house, which in her will, his aunt suggests strongly that he sell. He decides instead to move there so he and Eudora can begin a new life together. Although his aunt stipulates in her will that he should sell the house because of catastrophes that will follow if he moves in, he dismisses her wishes and moves to Whitbrow, a small town, fairly backward and very poor. They sacrifice pigs to G-d every period of the full moon. Superstition keeps them continuing this tradition until the day economic conditions force them to vote to abandon it. Ghoulish tragedies begin to follow from that day forward. Eudora will be the town teacher, replacing Frank's deceased aunt, and Frank will attempt to research and write a book about his disgraced and ignominious great grandfather, known for his bravery during the civil war by some, but even more for his cruelty toward his slaves. His plantation, on an island that is feared by most, is hidden in the depths of the woods where none wish to venture. Everyone likes a good scary read, once in awhile, but I felt that the book created suspense which promised more than it delivered. It was exciting, to a point but descended into shallow waters at times, especially at the end. I am not sure why so many authors, of late, find it necessary to cast aspersions upon ethnic and religious groups, inferring all sorts of negative character traits. Jews were portrayed as stereotypically cheap and the "N" word was used unnecessarily and too often. For me, these derogatory images added nothing to the story, rather they served to raise my eyebrows and make me wonder where the author was going with them. I think the author has the potential to compete in the horror/science fiction genre with the more established authors, but this one did not hit it out of the park for me. That said, the book held my interest, for a long time, injecting just enough horror and tension into the plot until the conclusion. It was like a carrot in front of the cart pulling the reader onward, but then, it didn't resolve in a very believable way, and even with the suspension of disbelief, it was hard to find the conclusion plausible.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2011

    Scary and Creepy!

    I don't know what has gotten to me to read this at night, maybe I was kinda underestimating the book and tried to scoff at the description that it was a horror kind of book. Lesson learned the hard way, I was not able to go to the kitchen because of this. What a way to spin a tale.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    Highly Recommend this Southern Gothic Lit

    Buehlman has crafted a fine piece of Southern Gothic/Horror literature. I enjoyed the way the pacing of the first part of the novel set up the action for the latter half. Had the right amount of horror/spooky factor along with the day-to day routine of a normal small town, but this is no normal town. The historical aspects were indicitive of how things were in the Deep South during this particular time in history, and were captured in this novel very well. The characters and setting were accurate and fully fleshed out, as well. You will experience the whole of it right along with Frank Nichols. I was glad to have read this novel in October, right around Halloween.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2011

    Don't Turn off the Lights

    An amazingly well-written and thought provoking piece of dark fiction.

    Frank Nichols, a disgraced academic and his soon-to-be-wife Eudora inherit a home in the deep south. Despite the warning to never set foot on the property, the two travel to make a fresh start of their lives in the quaint little town of Whitbrow, Georgia.

    ...and the horror begins.

    Buehlman artfully constructs a stairwell of visionary prose straight down into the darkest parts of the imagination and feeds the reader just enough to keep them at the edge of panic through the very end.

    This is a must read for any fan of the genre, but also opens the doors for those with a varying palate.

    The gifted Christopher Buehlman has given me something that I haven't had in a very long time...a book that made me think twice about turning off the lights.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 27, 2011

    Bold and handsomely descriptive.

    Mr. Buehlman places you right in the middle of 1935. His scenes come to life in your imagination as you turn each page. I love how he set the story up slowly and you get to know the characters in depth and their surroundings. Little innuendos placed throughout the story kept me gripping the book for an entire weekend of suspense.
    Congrats Christopher Buehlman, you have created a masterpiece.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 26, 2011

    This. Book. Is. Awesome!

    I highly recommend this book to anyone (well, not small children). And perhaps not people with a delicate heart or prudish mind. But in general, this is an incredibly engaging, creepy as all hell, fast moving, super charactered, rip-roaring page burner. I'm actually going to read it again, soon. And probably a third time, because I want to make sure I don't miss anything. It's that good. Seriously, buy this book. I am buying like 15 copies and giving them out as Christmas gifts.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews

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