Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “In the Valley of the Sun” as Want to Read:
In the Valley of the Sun
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

In the Valley of the Sun

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  583 ratings  ·  129 reviews
For readers of Joe Hill, Cormac McCarthy, and classic Anne Rice, a chilling tale of suspense and horror set deep in the Texas desert.

Travis Stillwell spends his nights searching out women in West Texas honky-tonks. What he does with them doesn’t make him proud, just quiets the demons for a little while. But his nights soon take a terrifying turn in a desert cantina, where
Hardcover, 376 pages
Published June 6th 2017 by Skyhorse
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about In the Valley of the Sun, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about In the Valley of the Sun

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.94  · 
Rating details
 ·  583 ratings  ·  129 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of In the Valley of the Sun
Oct 21, 2017 rated it really liked it
when the blurbs referenced cormac mccarthy, i thought this was going to have more of a western vibe to it, but it’s closer to No Country for Old Men than Blood Meridian, or the Evening Redness in the West on the mccarthy spectrum- it’s got the texas and brutality down pat, but it’s more crime than western in tone, so - alas, i am still jonesing for my vampire western fix.

the book is not afraid of a challenge, though - trying to make a sympathetic character out of a man who is a killer-of-women
4.5/5 stars!

Rarely do I find myself struggling to find the words I want to say about a book, but today I am. Know why? Because IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN was so beautifully written, powerful, surprising and engaging.. Oh! Apparently, I CAN find the words if I try hard enough!

In this dark tale set during 1980, there's everything a horror lover could want. You've got a villain with so many layers to him, reading about him is like peeling an onion. There is no bad guy with a black hat here...well,
Sadie Hartmann Mother Horror
Originally published at Cemetery Dance on March 20th, 2019
Stephen Graham Jones posted on social media a few times about a book called In the Valley of the Sun and I took note, but it wasn’t until he posted the book’s cover that I got excited. The cover boasts a human skull bleeding from the eye sockets. It’s wearing a cowboy hat and vampire incisors are clearly visible.


A blurb by Dr. Jones across the top reads, “I burned through this.It’s got teeth on every page.” I wondered, “Is
Mar 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was sent to me by the author, and I buddy read it with my friends Sadie and Tracy. I had not heard about this book previous to it being sent to me, and after reading it, and learning that it was a finalist for the 2017 Bram Stoker Award, I'm shocked that I didn't know about it. So far this is my favorite read of 2019, and it's going to take something that literally knocks my socks off to take its place. Why are more people not talking about this fantastic novel??

This book is for me the
Holly (The Grimdragon)
“Travis lay the knife on the floor and shuffled forward on his knees like a man about to perform a tender act. He put his face between the girl's white legs and touched his lips to her wound, and his mouth filled instantly and he was forced to spit.


But there was something else now too, wasn't there? A warmth. A kindling.
He put his lips against the wound again and this time swallowed when his mouth had filled and the horror and revulsion he had imagined were not the things he felt. He felt
Philip Fracassi
Jul 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: genre, horror
A novel about serial killers, vampires and family that reads almost poetic, albeit with lightning-flash bursts of violence and horror. Mr. Davidson is a rare stylist who can make even the most intense horror seem like a nasty daydream, one that lingers in the back of your mind for weeks afterward.

A lush, tense novel that felt to me like a combination of No Country for Old Men and Let the Right One In. And I can't think of higher praise than that. Highly recommended.
Tracy Robinson
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“For him, the world was now a picture knocked crooked. He could barely judge the ground beneath his boots and the stars in the sky shimmered and blurred and became long straight lines of light, as if time itself were stretching to the breaking.”

In the Valley of the Sun
At the time of this review, it has been 11 days since I read the last sentence of this novel. I have no worries about forgetting anything as I write this, I’m still thinking about it daily. I was happy to buddy read this with a
Jen (Book Den)
May 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: go-through
In the Valley of the Sun reminds me of my experience with The Girl with All the Gifts. I went into it not knowing what kind of horror book it was, and my experience was much better for it. In the Valley of the Sun never actually names the horror so I'm not going to either. My hope is that you will give it a chance without finding out too much about it. It's a really great book, but it's a great experience, too. One of my favorite things about In the Valley of the Sun was the slow unveiling of ...more
Chris Berko
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Monsters," he said. "The world's just full of monsters."

Who knew that a book about monsters drinking blood could be so... beautiful. I read about the comparisons to Cormac McCarthy but that was not what made me read this. The only McCarthy book I've read is Blood Meridian and to tell you the truth I thought it was kind of boring. I read this because a lot of people whose reviews I trust gave this high marks. This book is anything but boring, and I have to agree with those high marks. This has
Tara Rock
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
4-1/2 Stars. One of the best vampire stories I've ever read. I was rootin' for the "would be vampire" all the way; Mr. Davidson gets a big thumbs up from me.
Sep 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: horror
It is inevitable, when one writes a dark novel about the contemporary west , he is going to be compared to Cormac McCarthy especially when the novel is steeped in literary prose. It makes sense since McCarthy is both very literary and usually quite dark. But in reviewing this particular work, I'm going to mention another name. Larry McMurtry, the author of Lonesome Dove and The Last Picture Show is the other modern master of the western novel. In my eyes, his novels, especially those of the ...more
Jamie Stewart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-list-2019
On my shortlist for favorite book of the year. An astonishing debut! Davidson takes a concept that’s been done to death and crafts it into something original and breathtaking. The writing is gorgeous, and the characters are truly alive. Not a page wasted. I can’t wait to see what he follows this up with, and you can bet your ass I’ll be the first in line to buy it. My highest recommendation! ...more
May 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was just too slow and draggy for me.
I'm feeling more of a 3.5 rating, because there were some really intense moments in this story, but I just couldn't give it the 4-star round up.

I'll be the minority of those who read this book, though I can totally see why it's loved by horror fans. First of all, my opinion is slightly biased by the fact that I never really cared for Vampires (although they were portrayed quite well in this -- as vicious, nasty parasites). Second of all, I'm not much for "style" in writing. I like straight
Mitch Meredith
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I need to preface this review with two things:
1. I do not like westerns
2. I do not like vampire novels.

With that being said, I loved this book!

So, why would I read this? I'd heard this book mentioned in certain circles for a while but because of my predisposition towards its setting/content I put it off. I then learned that the author is a native Arkansan, like me, and I looked into the book a bit more. And it sounded interesting enough so I figured I'd give it a go!

And wow, I'm glad I did!
Mar 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well-written Western/Horror novel. Another Goodreads reviewer wrote "If Cormac McCarthy ever wrote a vampire novel, it would be like this book." I agree.

The story is about a serial-killer recently turned into a vampire, and the Texas Ranger who is searching for him. The characters are well-developed, and we see how the killer came to be what he is. Although it's very gory and violent, I still had to keep reading to find out what would happen to these characters. This is one of the better
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow, talk about your mommy issues! This guy, Travis Stillwell, has really big mommy issues. As a result, Travis is a serial killer who a vampire decides to fall in love with. Very messy. This book is definitely creepy, and nerve racking.

Travis is a drifter and he ends up staying in a motel/campground owned by a widow and her boy. He becomes obsessed with them. Again, mommy issues. Travis is haunted by his childhood. The owner hires him to do some clean up and handy work around the place.
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
If Cormac McCarthy ever wrote a vampire novel, it would be like this book.
This is one of the better written vampire novels I have ever read.
I would not say this is very scary, but the story is gripping and you need to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.
Highly recommended to not only vampire novel lovers but to anyone that likes a good story.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Blood, bloody, bloodier, bloodiest...

It's 1980. Travis Stillwell lives life on the road, travelling from small town to small town in Texas, running from the memories of his earlier life, seeking something lost. Some nights he'll pick up a woman in a honky-tonk bar, but not for love – these women are victims, killed almost as a sacrifice to those demons he can't shake off. But one night he picks up Rue, a beautiful young woman who is more evil than even the horrors in his own mind – a woman
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery, firstreads
I won this book in a goodreads drawing.

A serial killer meets up with a woman and her son. Meanwhile, a Texas Ranger is after both of them.

It wa OK, but I didn't like it as much as most people seem to like it.
Noel Penaflor
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: horror
The first part of novel is more of a police procedural with mixed results. The second half turns into the horror novel you're promised. It's a vampire novel, though the word "vampire" is never used. The vampires are sharply drawn while the humans are more stock characters with no more use than to be victims or potential victims.

Though it takes bit to get there, the final 50 pages makes it all worth it. Recommended.
Joey B.
Jun 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
A DNF for me. I know everyone LOVED it. I read 20% and don't think that I can get through 300 more pages.
Jeff McIntosh
Apr 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-reads
No stakes. No holy cross, garlic, or coffin....but for all these Travis Stillman IS a vampire.

Travis is lost - after some years in Vietnam, and a stint in a psychiatric unit in the 'states...Travis travels the roads of Texas - searching for either his lost mother or his first girlfriend - searching, perhaps...for Love. In his quest, Travis is well on his way to becoming a serial killer - leaving his dates strangled with his leather belt - a gift from his first girl.

Unfortunately, Travis is
Darrell Grizzle
May 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reading this novel by Andy Davidson is an immersive experience. You can almost feel the hot Texas sun on your brow and wipe the sharp copper taste of blood from your mouth as you read it. This is unlike any vampire novel you’ve ever read before. It reads like an unholy union between Joe Lansdale and Flannery O’Connor, with characters and images that will haunt you long after you’ve read it.
Michelle Lancaster
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Andy Davidson
In the Valley of the Sun: A Novel
Skyhorse Publishing
Hardcover, 978-1-5107-2110-4, (also available as an e-book), 384 pgs., $24.99
June 6, 2017

In the autumn of 1980, drifter Travis Stillwell washes up west of the Pecos in the fictional town of Cielo Rojo, Texas. After a surreal night at a local watering hole where he meets Rue, a young woman with “skin … light as bone, her hair as red as a fortunate sky,” Stillwell wakes covered in blood inside the camper on his
Apr 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was disappointed with In the Valley of the Sun because the monster was not believable as a metaphor for the dark side within everyone and it’s seductive pull nor did the aberration work as an interesting or scary or even fun monster. There’s nothing to fault in Davidson’s use of language. This guy can write. That’s what kept me turning pages and hoping something wonderful or transforming would happen to the characters. The non scary widowed mother and her ten year old son provided the ...more
Suz Jay
Jul 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
“In the cowboy’s long sadness, his wandering misery, his stranger self’s errant desire to seek out the mother he lost and take some twisted vengeance upon her, to love her as she never loved him, to hurt her as she would always hurt him, in all of these contradictions and curses, he is filling, his blood a rich, luxurious drug, a luscious velvet, a liquid flame.”

Various traumas left bloody imprints on Travis and his twisted brain sends him on a violent quest. A woman, who has evolved into a
Josh reading
Apr 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an interesting and refreshing book written by Andy Davidson. In the Valley of the Sun has such an interesting approach to the main character Travis. He is a villain, yet he is also the protagonist of his own twisted story so to speak. The haunting words written by Davidson resonate with stark, sometime bleak, beauty. Dry words of truth fitting for the somewhat desolate scrub of rural Texas. The characters of this book are all flawed and complex in their own way. I love how Travis, Rue, ...more
Eddie Generous
Apr 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Unnerving Magazine Review

Listen to my conversation with the author here:

In the Valley of the Sun is atmospheric and highly textured look at the humanity within the monster, with engaging and honest characters. Any flaws are minor, this book is extremely readable and, to pull a review cliche, difficult to put down. Dark, grim, and wholly entertaining.
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bloody Good Horror: July '18 - In the Valley of the Sun 1 12 Feb 05, 2018 09:11AM  
Vampires, Weres a...: In the Valley of the Sun 7 16 Nov 07, 2017 07:04PM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Wounds: Six Stories from the Border of Hell
  • Black Mountain (Isaiah Coleridge #2)
  • The Fearing: Fire and Rain (The Fearing #1)
  • Children of the Dark
  • Blood Standard (Isaiah Coleridge, #1)
  • The Rust Maidens
  • The Pale White
  • Entropy in Bloom: Stories
  • Westlake Soul
  • Growing Things and Other Stories
  • The Twisted Ones
  • Tamer Animals
  • Violet
  • Exorcist Falls
  • Walk The Darkness Down
  • The Fearing: Water and Wind (The Fearing #2)
  • When Darkness Loves Us
  • In The River
See similar books…
Born and raised in Arkansas, Andy Davidson is the Bram Stoker Award-Nominated author of In the Valley of the Sun. He holds a Master of Fine Arts in fiction from the University of Mississippi. His work has appeared in print and online journals. He lives in Georgia with his wife and a bunch of unruly cats.
“It’s a hard thing on a man,” Calhoun offered, “to watch his dreams wither on the vine.” “A man’s dreams are hard on a woman, too, Mr. Calhoun.” 2 likes
“There is no comfort to be had in any truth here. I hope you’ll remember that when you write your reports.” 1 likes
More quotes…