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The Red Church

(Sheriff Frank Littlefield #1)

3.46  ·  Rating details ·  2,419 ratings  ·  248 reviews
The church was constructed in the 1860s under the guidance
of Reverend Wendell McFall. His sermons declared the existence of God s Second Son- whose mission is to undo all of Jesus work on Earth. McFall had the church painted red to summon the First Son to defeat the Second. But when he sacrificed a child to support his rantings, his congregation hung him from the rafters o
ebook, 352 pages
Published January 5th 2010 by Smashwords Edition (first published September 1st 2000)
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Average rating 3.46  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,419 ratings  ·  248 reviews

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Misty Baker
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I’m going to start this blog with a disclaimer: When you are about 5% from finishing this book, park yourself next to a church, and finish it in the parking lot. Just trust me on this, I have never finished a book and then felt an immediate need for prayer and repentance as I did when I finished “The Red Church.”

Back in 1993 the world was introduced to the cult world by a fairly psychotic man named David Koresh. (For those of you reading this that were born in the late 80′s just google him.) Civ
Jun 05, 2011 rated it really liked it
This tightly-plotted horror novel involves lots of religious facets, including the idea of a second son of God in addition to Jesus Christ. Nothing is controversial or offensive. This is just a vivid tale of the North Carolina mountains and its inhabitants spooked by "the red church." The intrepid sheriff is perhaps the most interesting of the cast of characters. Enjoyable read to kick off my summer with. ...more
cults? haunted churches? yes please!! I love the idea of this book but somehow it was just ok. it did get pretty religious in some parts and I guess I should've expected that but I was there for the scarier things. I will read more by this author, though. most of his books sound great. ...more
Nov 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great haunted church/coming of age/crisis of faith novel. What if there was a modern day immaculate conception resulting in a second messiah who was the antithesis of Jesus? Plenty of suspense and creepiness. Highly recommended
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror-fiction
Scott Nicholson's The Red Church is fast paced, scary, and damn good fun... everything a good horror novel should be. It's also more than that. It's insightful, thoughtful and sometimes downright poetic. The tale of a search for meaning, and the meaning of faith resonated with this lapsed Church of Scotland reader, and got me thinking about things I hadn't considered since my own teenage years. Scott's skillful use of several viewpoint characters, each with their own take on what is happening, o ...more
Nov 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
The Red Church is everything a scary story should be! The characters believe with conviction what they see is real and never waver despite the implausibility. Their trust is contagious and because of this, the reader can rely on the accounts. The 'good' vs. 'evil' element is at the forefront, but what makes this theme unique is how it is presented. Is Jesus really the bad guy? Seems ridiculous to consider given America's deeply rooted Christian culture, but Nicholson is able to craft a story tha ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I am not exactly a "thriller" or "horror" fan, so when I came across The Red Church by Scott Nicholson I hesitated at first, thinking I probably wouldn't like it. After the first few pages into the book, I realized how limiting and inaccurate such labels really are. To be sure, there is plenty of blood-curdling and scary stuff in the novel. However, there is much more to the book than "blood and gore."

The heart of the story is a young boy, struggling with growing up, with his parents' estrangem
Nov 08, 2011 rated it really liked it
I originally rated this 3.5 stars, rounded down to 3.

his is one of those generational tales where the family in the present has to pay for the sins of the family in the past. The character development was excellent, I thought. The plot was engaging and there is no doubt Mr. Nicholson has an excellent imagination.

The only thing that bothered me about this one is the fact that I think it got a little "churchy" at the end. A little more "churchy" and Christian themed than I normally would enjoy. B
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
This book was recommended to me, so I thought I'd try it, the horror fan that I am. I couldn't put it down, a fast-paced storyline where the Reverend Archer McFall is believed to be God's Second Son and Jesus a liar, creepy! The characters were not very complex, with the exception of Ronnie Day and Sheriff Frank Littlefield, the good guys, but that is to be expected with your average horror novel. Frank is haunted with guilt over the death of his little brother, a Halloween prank gone terribly w ...more
The Behrg
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
This book's been on my radar for years, finally had the chance to dig into it, and glad I did. Instead of just uncovering a quick treasure that's been buried underground and has maybe lost some of it's shine, this was like unearthing a fossil only to realize that you're standing not over a single specimen but an entire burial ground that could fill museums. Reminiscent of early King, Nicholson is a master wordsmith, and his imagery is as haunting as it is poignant. At times the religious aspects ...more
Alondra Miller
3.5 Stars

When does religious fervor cross the line?? At what point is your passion an obsession beyond reasoning?? More importantly, who is to say that your belief is right and/or the belief of your fellow man is wrong??

This is a horror story, yes. So, finding deeper meanings in the conversation maybe far fetched, so you would think; but the questions above still need to be answered, monsters or no. Some of the worst people I have ever met, were "church folk." Also, some of the nicest, most giv
Jun 25, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of horror
Shelves: ebook
A very creepy horror novel that explores ideas of faith, redemption, good vs. evil and how hard it is to tell the difference, and other such thoughts. This is my first Nicholson book and I'm quite impressed not only by his mastery of language but by his character development, plot development, and clean copy editing. Fans of horror and those fascinated by the eternal struggle to understand the human condition should enjoy this novel. Please keep an eye open for my review of the sequel, "Drummer ...more
Kristin Walcott Figueroa
Just like the Red Church was forever lurking in the background of this small mountain town, this book has been lurking in my TBR pile for quite some time. Every time I finished book and was looking for my next great read, I’d always pause on this cover in my long list on Goodreads and think, “I really want to read this.” Then I’d continue perusing the rest of the list and for some reason always settle on something else. That is until now. I don’t know what I was waiting for, but its beckoning ha ...more
Sep 13, 2011 rated it really liked it
For twenty years the red church has been nothing but fodder for ghost stories and a place to store hay. No one in the small North Carolina mountain town likes to talk about its grisly past. When people start dying mysterious and horrific deaths , the Sherriff suspects that it has something to do with the return of Reverend McFall . McFall’s followers are willing to do whatever is needed, not matter how horrifying, to assure the return of the Second Son.
I don’t read a lot of books in the horror g
Matt Schiariti
Nov 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
It would be easy to say The Red Church is a horror novel. I guess at its core that's as good a label as any, but it's really a mixing of genres. Part ghost story, part thriller, part mystery, part psychological drama, part crisis-of-faith story.

I think the most frightening aspect of the story isn't the supernatural aspect of the 'false prophet' type villain. It's not the gore (while there is some, Nicholson uses it for effect, not for shock value..which is doesn't come off as a cheap th
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The works of Scott Nicholson are often compared to those of Stephen King. His debut novel - The Red Church - is indeed written in a style resembling the most mature of King's books, and is set in a small American town, like many of King's novels. The similarities end there however, because The Red Church is much more serious than King's horror stories.

The Red Church is a book about faith. It shows that what we believe is equally shaped by dogmata of our religion, our personal experiences, herita
Nathan Henrion
Apr 13, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4 1/2 stars...Run For The Hills!

I picked this up after following a forum link by the author and I am glad I did. The writing was excellent, and though the pace was a little slower than my personal taste leans toward, it allowed for a deeper exploration into the background and development of the characters. The opening scene sucks you in and I found myself burning a lot of the midnight oil just to see where this story was going.

Ronnie was a solid character and there were parts of his story (when
K.R. Bankston
Chose this book based on the wonderful synopsis and it began as a good read. It quickly lost luster for me however as the story became very convoluted and murky. There was far too much emphasis placed on the "anti religious" theme than necessary. It would seem the author went to great lengths to offend Christians/Christianity or ridicule their customs and beliefs. I thought the premise of the story was good, the writing was excellent, though the story being told from a 10-year old's POV didn't g ...more
Geoff North
Apr 08, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this book. Scott Nicholson's tale of unrelenting terror set in the Appalachians reminded me so much of some of the horror novels written back in the eighties - one of the really good ones. I'm looking forward to reading more from this author. Excellent! ...more
Nov 28, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebooks
Overall The Red Church was an interesting story. I'm not big on religion stuff and this story had a lot of religious type talk (though a lot was the made up stuff for the Archer McFall character). I enjoyed the read for the most part either way. ...more
Eric Mesa
Nov 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
I got this book as part of a Humble Bundle years ago. It was my first occult horror, unless you count Dean Koontz books, which - now that I think about it - seems to share at least some genre space with this book. Quick note for anyone new to my reviews - I use the Goodreads tooltips to inform how many stars I give a book. At the time I'm writing this review, 2 stars is "it was OK".

I definitely give the author credit for creativity. The occult enemy in this book was an original - not a typical
Todd Russell
Jun 29, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, ghost, religion
Some genuinely creepy moments in my first ever read of a Scott Nicholson book. It's also the first in the Sheriff Littlefield series. This one came by recommendation from several readers in a writing group I belong to. The writing style and story--particularly the town setting and children characters--reminded me of something a young John Saul might have written. An influence for the author, perhaps?

Anyway, this story of a haunted church and a creepy reverend that comes back to town and creates
Arlena Dean
Title: The Red Church
Author: Scott Nicholson
Publisher: Smashwords Edition
Series: Sheriff Frank Littlefield # 1]
Reviewed By: Arlena Dean
Rating: Four

"The Red Church" by Scott Nicholson

My Thoughts....

I will say this isn't my favorite genre but I took it on and after a few chapters I will say this was a interesting horror story with some deep fantasy /paranormal and some suspenseful mystery. I was even kept reading because it seemed like a compelling story in this small town that will defin
Jan 02, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
Nicholson's the Red Church starts promisingly but loses the way in a haze of characters and religious meanderings. I'm not exactly sure what and where it went wrong. Perhaps the authors asks us to suspend disbelief one time too often. There is a lot of good things about this novel. The two children have a Bradbury-like wonder about them and the author excels in descriptive writing. However the plot became somewhat automated as each character changes when the plot dictates it. Except for perhaps ...more
Oct 14, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book started off creepy enough for me, but then it became pretty religious. I am not a heathen, but I do like to keep my religion and reading for entertainment seperate...I haven't figured out yet if this author is a Christian horror writer or if the religious references are just part of the story, so that is really distracting therefore, the book has lost me. Now, I am just reading it to determine the "religion" question.

ETA(05/31/2011): I found out this is def. not a Christian hor
Janet Hartman
Jun 30, 2014 rated it liked it
I don't normally read horror, but Nicholson will be speaking to my writers group and I like to read an author's work before they come to our meeting. The creative plot elements kept my interest to the end. This is the first book of his I have read.

Part way through the book, you may think the book is anti-Christian, but in total I did not find it so. Religion plays a big part - after all, it is called The Red Church - showing how beliefs can turn a person or creature toward good or evil.

Harry Sahl
Jul 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This was the first Scott Nicholson book I've read. I found him to be a wonderful storyteller and have some of his other books. All his books are very reasonable on amazon.
I liked that the star of the book is Archer McFall and he's not a good guy. The negative reviews seem to focus on wanting a "happy ending." This is a horror book with true horror. An old town in the backwoods of North Carolina has a dark history and characters with a horrid past. There are some scary scenes and the book drew m
Mason Cole
Feb 12, 2014 rated it liked it
A solid, fast-paced small-town horror novel. It's like one of those drugstore impulse buys you made in 1989, when the shelves were all KingKoontzKingKoontz and their assorted imitators/heirs to the throne, and horror readers NEVER had to look far for a new fix.

Released in 2002, it was among the last of that era in publishing. In fact, I believe Nicholson--who has made a name for himself since then and has quite a loyal following--was the last American paperback writer whose books were released u
Karl Ketts
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
The Red Church by Scott Nicholson is nicely paced, bloody scary, and guaranteed to keep you on the edge of your seat. More than this though, It is thought provoking and beautifully written. If you're a lapsed church goer, or if you've never been a church goer, you may just find yourself rocking up the aisle after reading this.
I particularly liked the different and differing viewpoints of the many characters employed by the author, It worked well.
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With more than 800,000 books sold worldwide, Scott Nicholson is an international bestselling thriller writer. He won the Writers of the Future Award in 1999 and was a Stoker Award finalist in 2003. His Fear series was published by Amazon's Thomas & Mercer imprint and 47North released the supernatural thriller McFALL.

He's also published a number of supernatural, paranormal, and fantasy books and st

Other books in the series

Sheriff Frank Littlefield (2 books)
  • Drummer Boy (Sheriff Frank Littlefield, #2)

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