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High Lonesome Sound

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  208 ratings  ·  55 reviews
In the sleepy mountain town of Moon Hollow, Virginia, there is a church with a crooked steeple. No one will say for sure how it got that way, but it’s the reason the whole town gathers every Decoration Day to honor the dead.

But this year, there are two fresh graves up on Cemetery Hill, a stranger’s come to town, and the mountain’s song is filled with dark warnings.

The good
Paperback, 464 pages
Published February 13th 2018 by Createspace Independent Publishing Platform
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Average rating 4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  208 ratings  ·  55 reviews

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Chris Berko
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've started and stopped this review a couple of times now and I can't come up with anything to properly convey how much I enjoyed this one. Believe me, this novel is incredibly original and it totally does its own thing but I kind of felt shades of Needful Things by Uncle Stevie and The Hungry Moon by Ramsey Campbell. I was sucked into the small-town dynamics, politics, and religiosity from the first page. And who the hell would think that a novel set in some mountaintop backwoods town could be ...more
Paul Goat
Jan 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A gothic horror set in the heart of Appalachia; Wells’ High Lonesome Sound is a darkly immersive storytelling tour de force.

When struggling horror novelist Peter West rents a cabin in a remote place called Moon Hollow for a few weeks, his goal is to find the seed of a new story—instead he finds an ancient evil hidden in the hollers of southern Virginia. Fueled by rich description and sublime imagery, the author’s use of dichotomy throughout was outstanding, particularly the play between the
Chris Bauer
Feb 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I've read a number of novels by author Jaye Wells in the past and have always enjoyed her style of urban fantasy and other variants.

"High Lonesome Sound" is a horse of an altogether different color. Gothic Southern. Appalachian horror. Coal country noir - the labels are endless but this book is unique.

Wells writes with a deft and steady hand, conjuring vivid and memorable characters forth and immediately giving them HUGE challenges and choices. The plot unfolds quickly and the reader is almost
T. Frohock
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
I initially picked up this book, because Wells mentioned on Twitter that her urban fantasy fans didn't want to read her Southern Gothic novel. It was nice to stumble into that conversation, because I told her that after reading her blurb, High Lonesome Sound seemed right up my alley, and it was.

For those who avoid horror because it's usually equated with gore, High Lonesome Sound isn't in that category. This is excellent Southern Gothic that explores the seedier side of religion and small town
Victoria Thompson
Haunting story

Kate Wells tells a story that is both ancient and new: a young woman's journey to find her true self .
Tori Meskell
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic edge of your seat reading

I love Jaye Wells's writing, so it's obvious why I would choose this to read. However, this is different from anything I've read from her up until now. She's created a town, a world, that is rich and full of stories, and made it a suspenseful, edge of your seat ride. It's scary and pulls you forward, making you need to learn all of it's secrets. Hig Lonesome Sound is an amazing read! Looking for more like this from Wells.
Feb 05, 2018 rated it it was ok

I’ve always loved all of the Jaye Wells’s novels that I read and when I saw that she was releasing a new story, I was very intrigued! How not to be?

The author brings original and different ideas from what we usually found here. It is thus very intriguing to discover this little town of Moon Hollow and all the secrets that the inhabitants hide. We then follow different characters throughout the story while trying to understand what exactly is happening. In addition, the arrival of a stranger
Eddie Generous
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Unnerving Magazine Review
From very early on in this novel, the style felt familiar, but it had been years, so it took me a couple hours to figure it out. HIGH LONESOME SOUND reads very much like a book from the golden period of Dean Koontz’ career. It’s written in a fast, but fully-formed style, leaning into Christianity and a mysticism about animals. And when I say the best of Koontz’ years I’m talking the early- to mid-eighties, pre-magic dogs, pre-NRA fanboying, pre-Christian parachutes when
Jennifer Jamieson
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
Horror writer Peter West is watching his life go off the rails. He hasn't written a new book in too long, and his ex-wife is now writing an expose book about their life together. He's depressed, but random inspiration found in a book about ghostly mining towns gives him the kick in the butt he needs.

He needs a new book, and he needs it now.

Peter rents a house in the remote mining town of Moon Hollow, figuring the isolation and colorful characters that live there will prove inspiring enough to
Marsha Hubbell
Jan 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I’m a huge fan of Jaye Wells and her urban fantasy series. When I heard she was writing an American gothic tale, I could hardly wait. “High Lonesome Sound” has it all – fear, horror, shock, suspense, death, decay, family curses, ghosts, madness. But it also has beauty, nature, love, and justice. All the aspects of a good gothic tale and more.

Welcome to Moon Hollow, Virginia. The name alone makes you shiver. Toss in a church with a crooked steeple in a tiny Appalachian mining town where everyone
I love Jaye Wells. Have done since my intro to Sabina Kane. Haven't met her? RED-HEADED STEPCHILD is first in the!

Horror takes many forms. I like mine with atmosphere. Draw me in, make me scared, make me care what's going to happen to the characters, make me scared [yes, again]. This one does that. I loved being scared by this story. I read this before bed. Yep, made for some intriguing dreams.

There's magic in the hills and the power of one religious zealot who takes the
Sandra Robards
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. It was haunting and tense, with a beautiful use of words to set the mood and build the feeling of dread and anticipation of the horror to come.
The characters: a young woman raised in a small mountain town but yearning to leave, an elderly granny/wise woman whose warnings go unheeded, a frustrated former best-selling author who seeks inspiration to overcome his writer's block by traveling to the mining town, and a self-righteous holy man who is anything but. The characters are
Michelle Palmer
Jan 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
I have enjoyed several of Wells' Urban Fantasy books but this was amazing.
A small town run by a deacon of the church.
An author who comes upon a story about the town in a book of small town legends.
A girl who just wants out of the small town.
Two bodies that have been added to the cemetery in the last month.

This is the recipe for an excellent horror book.
The characters were so real that I kept thinking they were my relatives. Their actions felt authentic.
The settings are very
Brandy Macdonald
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I started this book I was unsure where the story would take me, and a little hesitant about the fact it jumped from character to character every chapter. I was worried I would not be able to get to know the characters in depth but I was definitely wrong to worry. Jaye did an amazing job developing the characters and their story. High Lonesome Sound tells the story of a town in the Appalachian Mountains and what a story it tells. I was continually surprised by what twists were thrown into ...more
Jo Dawson
Jan 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Demons and legends and a dash of witchcraft - everything I love in a book! High Lonesome Sound is the tale of a man looking for a story, he didn’t plan on entering a different world. And Moon Hollow is definitely a different world. Steeped in local lore and history, the town is as much a pivotal character as the people residing there.

What a great read, I generally choose my books closer to the side of paranormal than horror, but I do enjoy Jaye Well’s writing so was excited to give this a shot.
May 13, 2018 rated it did not like it
I was excited what I saw that this author came out with a new book and intrigued that with this book she jumped to a different genre than what I normally read from her. Sadly this one didn't work for me. I made it 65 pages before giving up, a big reason why is that I was bored while reading. Sure things were sort of picking up at this point, the "big bad" showed up, but it wasn't enough to keep me reading. In the end this one wasn't for me.
K.P. Kulski
Jan 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is much more than a horror story. Wells paints her characters as flawed people, existing at many points in the spectrum of human quality. The setting of Moon Hollow is as tangible as it is fantastic, filled with natural wonder as well as a claustrophobic darkness that has a way of sinking into your bones with each page.
Jan 04, 2020 marked it as did-not-finish
I am just not interested enough, and that makes me sad.
I'm putting this aside for a while. I'll come back to it soon as I'm just not enjoying it at the moment.
Mary Mascari
Mar 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a fan of Jaye Wells from her great Prospero's War books. High Lonesome Sound is very different, and a real leap in quality. It still has the fast pace, and, like her other books, I had a hard time putting it down (I devoured it in 2 days), but there's a new dimension in this one. The setting is gorgeous (a small Appalachian town). The magic is subtle at times, very direct in others, but always fascinating. I love the characters. And I want a pet bear.

It's a little scary, but not terrifying
Hattie Quinn
Jul 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Best book of the year that no one is talking about.That may seem like hyperbole but let me tell you a few things:
High Lonesome Sound is a story of family loss and triumph, a good old fashioned ghost story, a real look into what insular southern towns are like for the outsider, an homage to the magic of the cultures from which we descend, and an adventure forcing a writer to pluck up his courage and be a hero instead of just writing about one.
I discovered Jaye Wells last year at the DFW Writer’s
Amy Braun
Mar 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
WOW. Okay, let me start off by saying that this book is rough on your emotions. It's not going to shy away from harsh and grim realities, and more often that not, it's going to punch you in the feels (and it shows little mercy to authors, either). But it's AMAZING, and absolutely worth the read. The main story following this strange town will leave you with chills. There were some chapters that actually gave me shivers, and a lot is left to the imagination, an expert example of showing rather ...more
L.M. Hinton
A great friend gifted me with a copy of the newest book from author Jaye Wells. I read the first chapter and immediately wanted more. But then life intervened and I had to put the book down for a bit. Well, I started it again and read it in a day. I put everything else aside. I even cooked dinner for my family with the book in hand and lost out on some much-needed sleep.

Jaye Wells tells a good story. She builds suspense and keeps you turning pages, but more importantly, she crafts sentences that
Mike Finn
I experienced "High Lonesome Sound" as a very uneven novel which had some very strong moments in it but didn't really deliver on its promise.

I liked the originality of both the nature of the underlying evil that rises to the surface in the book and the forces used to confront it.

So many horror novels start well, building tension and creating context and characters that I care about and then fizzle out when the big bad finally sees the light of day. The confrontation scenes in "High Lonesome
Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Wow! What a ride! I love everything Jaye Wells puts out and this is no exception.

We get the story from several characters' perspectives (some relatable and likeable, but some not so much). At first I was worried I wouldn't be able to keep all the characters straight in my head, but it was very easy to follow. With short chapters, this book was a good read for me with most of my reading being over my lunch breaks.

The overall story was very fascinating. The book is set in a small town where
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Look out Jack Tales. We got a new legend in town.

High Lonesome Sound has a deliciously slow build of suspense into horror.
Jaye Wells takes on a journey through many perspectives. The small town girl with magic in her blood, the egotistical writer that needs to rediscover his passion, the arrogant deacon with a dark secret, the drunkard bully of a lost father, and the loving grandmother with a sharp wit and a spine of steel. This journey is powerful and beautiful. Having grown up with tales and
Aug 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Moon Hollow is a town full of secrets about to explode. When author Peter west needs a quiet place to reconnect with his writing, he rents a cabin in Moon Hollow and he's much more than ideas for a new story. Entrenched in power struggles, religion and death, West finds himself immersed in wariness and fear. This is an incredibly suspenseful novel, full of intriguing characters and overlapping stories. Wells writes with such incredible imagery, the story leaps to life. You can see it all unfold, ...more
Feb 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved this book! I binge read the whole second half of it because I wanted to see what was going to happen. Then sad that it was finished!
The story hits everything you would expect in a gothic horror novel. The characters immediately came to life for me and are written so well tht I had great visuals throughout the book.
When Ruby started singing, it gave me a chill as if I could actually hear her, and also brought tears to my eyes.
Midway through the book, I started really disliking Peter, but
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
Classic Southern Gothic yarn worth taking the time to read! A novelist, Peter, is searching for inspiration and finds an old book about scary stories in Appalachia. Away he goes to basically step back in time in a rural, coal-mining village in Virginia. Families are deeply rooted in Moon Hollow. Of course, no proper Southern Goth would be complete without supernatural, so we have talking mountain spirits, demons, possessions, undead, and a tenacious bear to keep things moving nicely.
Miki Quick
Jun 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

This is such a well-written story and so different from other books I've read by Jaye Wells. I know some people don't like books written from multiple POVs because they can get confusing if not done well, but when it's done right it adds so much more to the story being told. This was done right and the story told is richer in detail and emotions. Ruby's and Granny Maypearl's magic put a smile on my face.
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Jaye Wells is a former magazine editor whose award-winning speculative fiction novels have hit several bestseller lists. She holds an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, and is a sought-after speaker on the craft of writing. When she’s not writing or teaching, she loves to travel to exotic locales, experiment in her kitchen like a mad scientist, and try things that scare her ...more