The Ridge by Michael Koryta is a strange and intense novel that has a touch of Stephen King thrown in for good measure. It concerns Wyatt French, a man who is the town drunk, but who also holds the secret to a pact with evil that permeates a small Kentucky town. It is here that the drunk has taken all of his savings and built a lighthouse up in the hills and from there a bright light illuminates the surroundings. Koryta takes this premise as a jumping off place for a fascinating study of good vs. evil.
Sheriff Kevin Kimble knows something about evil. He came up against it face to face when he tried to rescue Jacqueline Mathis from an abusive relationship. Jacqueline ended up shooting her husband and then turned the gun on Kimble. She shot him in the back but he recovered, and still tried to be her protector.
Now Kimble is drawn into another situation where evil roams. Wyatt French calls Kimble and asked if he investigates a murder more than a suicide. Kimble tries to give a logical answer to this question. A short time later French kills himself. French appears to have been trying to send some kind of message to Kimble regarding the area and the lighthouse.
To add to the confusion occurring on Blade's Ridge, the stretch of land leading up to the lighthouse, Audrey Clark is bringing in a large number of exotic cats to be contained on a land preserve. Audrey is a widow who promised her husband David she would take care of the cats and she intends to do just that with the help of her crew. Once the cats get to the preserve land they begin to act mysteriously. They seem to sense the presence of evil.
Koryta knows how to take these elements and intensify his story. At one moment it is a legitimate drama and in a flash it becomes something supernatural. That is where the Stephen King influence shows its face.
Koryta takes the drama then adds the supernatural, even while including a bizarre love story. Each layer of the story has all of these elements and when one portion begins to unravel the story beneath is an amazing one.
Michael Koryta is a name that is growing in stature with each new novel he releases. THE RIDGE indicates he will keep getting better and better. This is a chilling story that will have you burning the midnight oil and wishing you had a lighthouse to ward off any dark presence around you.