By: Ania Ahlborn
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication Date: April 2015
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: July 3, 2015
Ania Ahlborn delivers a body of work guaranteed to deliver goose-bumps and then some in her latest thriller, Within These Walls.
There are no do-overs left for Lucas (Lou) Graham. Once upon a time he was the New York Times It guy when it came to spinning true crimes that soared to the top of the charts soon after they were released. What goes up, however, must come down and it just so happens Lou was out of parachutes and his landing was hard. Who knew true crime interest would take such a fall? It’s been ten years and his agent may still be on the line...he just doesn’t rush to answer the phone anymore. To add to Lou’s misery, he’s pretty sure his wife Caroline is having an affair with her boss. It’s easier to live in the denial over this notion than face the situation head on. There’s not much more Lou can lose. When diabolical cult leader and mass murderer Jeffrey Halcomb reaches out to Lou from his maximum security prison cell, maybe things are looking up after all. It would seem Halcomb has decided to break his decades old silence and has chosen Lou to write his tell-all story of just exactly why he did what he did.
Summer is here and the time is right for Lucas and his thirteen-year-old daughter to leave their New York digs behind. Did he mention this minor detail to wife Caroline? No matter. It seems the one caveat Halcomb was quite specific in Lou getting his exclusive would require him to relocate to the coast of Washington State. Not only did he have to relocate, but he had to agree to live in the house where the murders occurred. It is then and only then, that Halcomb will agree to meet with Lou live and in the flesh. With a story like this to write, Lou was already salivating over securing his familiar place on the New York Times after so many years absent. What he didn’t realize was once in, there was no turning back along with the personal sacrifices and losses he was about to face...
Ania Ahlborn has what it takes to deliver a spine-chilling, keep your night light on at night thriller! Within These Walls takes off on page one and the acceleration and intrigue continues to torque throughout. I found myself often comparing Ms. Ahlborn’s work to that of two iconic masters: Stephen King and Dean Koontz, the early years. Ahlborn has developed an incredibly balanced blend of creepy with a complement of paranormal activity that keeps the reader engaged. There is a nuance of Charlie Manson lurking between the lines, but her character Halcomb brings even Manson’s fright-fest to a whole new level. She has an innate ability to set up a scene with stylistic excellence and does so often throughout which, having not had the pleasure of reading any of her previous work, I would surmise is truly not only her strength, but her signature as well. Just when the reader may think the story has reached its pinnacle moment (and the author will begin to bring it on home), Ahlborn sets her chill meter a little higher and the twists and turns to this story throw the reader forward into another quandary of fear. Well done Ms. Ahlborn! This is a great read and I look forward to your next book.
Quill says: Within these Walls will have you checking under your bed and without a doubt, makes the ‘boogeyman’ pale in comparison!