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In the Valley of the Sun

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  1,056 ratings  ·  213 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
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  1,056 ratings  ·  213 reviews

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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, ac
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 b
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I seldom review books that I've bought, and this time isn't different!
No review. Just have to say though, that Mr. Davidson knows his shit! This story gave me the feels and the thrills. Both of his books to date are the bomb. Not blowing smoke up your ass! Just telling you. This man is one of the best authors I've read in the past year. This and The Boatman's Daughter, are two books that should not be missed! He has character's that you love. I didn't even want too! My one comparison would be t
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 thi
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
Montzalee Wittmann
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was ok
In the Valley of the Sun by Andy Davidson was a book I do struggled to finish! I like fantasy and horror but this was... hard to follow.
J.K. Grice
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horror
I think the strongest vampire novels are grounded in the here and now. Some how the author finds a way to suspend disbelief with these creatures living among us in the real world. To me, that makes a monster more scary and maybe even more conceivable; like seeing one in broad daylight on a sidewalk, sitting next to one at a bar, or meeting one in your own house. This is an attribute I relished in books like King's 'Salem's Lot and Michael Rowe's Enter, Night. The vampires were voracious monsters ...more
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I finally got around to listening to this! It's read by Dan John Miller and he does a great job. His country accents are perfect.
I have no idea how to write this review. The story is so good and written so well. The characters are real and complex. There is some gore and lots of blood. if the summary sounds interesting to you, just read this book then you'll see what i mean when i say i loved it but i don't know how to tell you about it without spoiling everything.
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.
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
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 on
Kyra Leseberg (Roots & Reads)
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Travis Stillwell travels the roads of West Texas in search of isolated honky-tonks where he can go unnoticed and find a woman to quiet his demons for the night.
The problem is that the demons never stay quiet and the Texas Rangers always find these women eventually.  

Then one night a mysterious woman in red boots finds Travis.

Travis wakes up in his cabover camper bloodied and worn with no recollection of the previous night.  He's parked in the lot of The Sundowner Inn, a rundown motel owned by wi
Tyler J Gray
DNF at 17%. I can't take it anymore. I am so bored and uninterested and I am just unable to push on. Not to mention all the stress right now, no sense in reading a book that feels like a chore. It sounds like something up my alley but it just isn't working for me. I'm sorry.
Jen (LOHF/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 wh ...more
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.
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 cou
Dec 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Rating: ★★★★★

Thanks to the publisher and author for a copy of In The Valley of the Sun in exchange for an honest review. Receiving a copy of the novel did not influence my thoughts or opinions.

A bit long overdue is my review of Andy Davidson’s debut novel. I actually had the opportunity to meet him at an author event called ‘Noir at the Bar’ here in Birmingham, AL back in November and also had him on my ‘Authors on a Podcast Talking Books’ podcast a little over a week ago. To say these instances
May 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
This was just too slow and draggy for me.
Jamie Stewart
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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 cont ...more
Ashley Daviau
Oct 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This might just be the best vampire novel I’ve ever read. It’s unlike any other vampire story I’ve ever read, it is unique and dark and gritty and I loved every second I spent reading it. Once I started I couldn’t stop, I read this from start to finish in one sitting. It’s just a book that’s meant to be devoured! I loved how it combined vampires and serial killers, it was so damned brilliant and it made my little black heart so happy to read a book that combined those two things. But what I real ...more
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! 😉
Horace Derwent
Jan 24, 2020 is currently reading it
since enter, night and those across the river, for years haven't i read a vampire novel that has teeth on its pages

perhaps it's not your typical vampire novel, but it is mine typical vampire novel. it's not sexy, it's cruel, but cabernet sauvignon like full-bodied. it's just a wild ride, really souther, really texas, feels like hitting the road to drink some blood
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.
Feb 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
A very good first novel,but darker than a moonless night.
Reading this book was somehow weird and evoked very contradictory feelings. First: the physical book. It shows a great cover image, but the cover is very flimsy and makes its size too large for comfortable reading. Second: the novel itself. It was truly amazing, honest in its brutality and beautifully sad. Each tiny glimpse of hope that raised its vulnerable flame was sure to be thoroughly crushed, spreading a heartrending loneliness. I was impressed by how easy it was to sympathize with the tor ...more
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The world is full of monsters. This is not the usual vampire fare. I like that. I like the period it takes place. The 1970's. Vietnam is a spectre hanging over our story. The lack of technology is refreshing. Maybe I am experiencing info overload, you know with a Pandemic going on around me, this was a breath of fresh, fetid air. I could smell the inside of that camper. I could feel the hot Texas sun. I am glad to have finally read this. I think my shelves need to have their own copy.
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! W
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 fo
Sep 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
I LOVED this book; damn near perfect if you ask me. Characters, plot, setting, pacing, all worked for me so well. Davidson’s description of the minutiae of each location and eye for detail is incredible and cinematic. I felt so present during every moment of this story. It’s dark, make no mistake, but man, what an accomplishment.
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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.

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