So you are a reporter who has already committed career suicide once, now you find yourself working at the local paper in the sleepy little town of Terrel. Bored to tears from covering garden parties, you finally catch wind of something interesting… a teen leaps to his death from the cliffs overlooking the town. When you ask a few questions you get very strange responses from the townspeople so you do a little investigation… suddenly discovering a string of yearly suicides going back over 100 years. Convinced you have a story on your hands, you start to investigate, even though everyone in the town warns you against it… because sometimes secrets are kept for your own safety.
From what I understand this is Everson’s first novel, I personally have never read anything by Everson before but I like to try new things, so I dug right in. The book itself is just under 300 pages with a teaser of his next novel at the back. This book is a very quick read that I started about 8pm and finished before 11 that night. The story is an interesting one, as the reader you know something is going on, and you are able to figure it out more quickly than our dear reporter, Joe Keirnan… just in time that you’ll know when he’s about to make a serious error. But who can he trust when everyone is hiding something. This book has a very supernatural edge to it, and though the grand finale felt that it should have had a few more bodies racked up… it was a satisfying conclusion. This book is not as gory as most that I have read, though there are several supernaturally induced rape scenes which may be upsetting to more sensitive readers.
The setup for the ending is fairly clear to guess from early on in the book, which takes out any chance of a “shocker” ending, but it really didn’t bother me all that much. The book was well written and managed to keep my attention from beginning to end. Though I always felt that I knew what was about to happened, it never really irritated me as it does with some books. Some of the characters could have used a little more meat to them, had he thrown in another 30 pages or so I feel the book could have been even better. The tale unfolds similar to a haunted house story, with the haunted house being a cliff instead of a house. I would have liked for a higher creepiness level, I never really had the vibe that the characters were truly in that much danger because it just felt like they were going to make it from the moment you met them. “Covenant,” though highly entertaining, and well worth the read to a horror fan, does not really break any new ground. I would be happy to read a second book about the incidents 100 years before, I feel that he had a very interesting tale there and actually the little blurbs from the journal were probably my favorite part of the book.
Recommended to fans of the general horror genre (King and Koontz), I’m not sure that the extreme horror crew (Laymon, Ketchum, Lee) will find as much gore here as they would like. In all this is a very tightly written novel with excellent pacing, and fairly descent characters for a horror tale. I consider this to be a wonderful first novel and hope that the author has many more in store for us.