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Book review: 'Dark Memories' a masterful, readable horror story

"DARK MEMORIES," by Jeffrey S. Savage, Covenant Communications, $17.99, 358 pages (f)

It's easy to discount Jeffrey S. Savage's new horror novel because it's easy to assume anything labeled "horror" is going to be very disturbing and slightly evil.

But given a chance, "Dark Memories" picks the reader up and takes one away as innocent children wander off from the school picnic and become hopelessly lost in a dark, abandoned mine. The story from there is an escape and a rush.

It's an absorbing read with short, succinct chapters and lots going on.

The children lost in the mine all have stories. The adults involved have complicated lives because of that incident.

Police Chief Cal Hunt has to deal with multiple murders that seem somehow connected to that event, murders he can't seem to stop or solve.

He's still reeling from the unexpected death of his wife, so it hurts to be unable to stop further pain and suffering. He has to face his loss as he tried to reconcile still being alive and well.

He wonders where she is.

But he really doesn't believe in ghosts or an afterlife or in things that can't be explained by hard evidence, so he can't draw comfort from religious beliefs that tell him spirits live on.

So, it's baffling to him to come up against what appears to be a supernatural force attacking people in the small, generally crime-free town of Twin Forks.

As he works to solve the crimes and ward off more, he is sucked into the past and the awful day that left one small boy alone while five others got out.

He teams up with an aged Indian who warns him away from the mine and its dangers. He visits the haunted tunnels.

He finds answers but very late in the spooky game.

This novel is not traditional "horror" as one would expect, but it's still thrillingly scary, enough so that it's best read with lights on and company around.

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at