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The Children of Red Peak von Craig DiLouie
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The Children of Red Peak (2020. Auflage)

von Craig DiLouie (Autor)

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424485,479 (3.6)Keine
Mitglied:ellehaze
Titel:The Children of Red Peak
Autoren:Craig DiLouie (Autor)
Info:Redhook (2020), 384 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek, Noch zu lesen
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The Children of Red Peak von Craig Dilouie

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Craig DiLouie is a new to me author. His latest book is The Children of Red Peak.

Five children survived a religious group’s last days at the mountain top of Red Peak. Everyone else 'drank the kool aid.' The five are now adults who have not kept in touch over the last fifteen years. When one of the five takes her own life, they finally reconnect. There are unanswered questions, fractured memories and no sense of closure in their lives. Will they climb to the mountain top one last time for answers?
Now, I don't read a lot of horror. I'm not one for overt violence and gore. While The Children of Red Peak definitely has horror elements, it's not wholly dependent on shock elements. Instead, much of the book is a look at each of the four and how their younger years were much different from the last months of the group. How did this tragedy shape their lives, their thinking, their mindsets etc. DiLouie does a good job of building his characters. It did seem like musician Deacon got the lion's share of coverage. I admit, his storyline began to lose me. The discussion around his music and the album he wants to make got tiresome for this reader. It was the more reticent David that I was drawn to.

I'm always intrigued by the inner workings of an insular group and the faithful that accept such as
their own paradise. As well as the acceptance of the doctrines their leader teaches. DiLouie's original group sounds quite happy, but it seems almost inevitable that cracks will begin to show. When does a 'religious group' become a cult? How does someone become so immersed in a belief system that would make no sense to most of us. (Yes, I am a pragmatist.) DiLouie employs a past and present narrative that goes back and forth until the two collide. The horror elements don't really come into play until that final collision.

The ending will be interpreted many ways I think, depending on the reader. I thought DiLouie put his own spin on 'cult fiction.' ( )
  Twink | Nov 16, 2020 |
I received an e-Galley ARC of The Children Of Red Peak, authored by Craig DiLouie, from NetGalley and the publisher Redhook Books; my honest review follows below, freely given. I am thankful for the opportunity.

I rated this novel 5 stars.

Cults are a real world phenomenon, death cults a subset that by name warn you of their intended tragic end. It may seem impossible to us, the likelihood of ever falling into the clutches of such an institution, but I would caution you to remember most begin as a much desired familial embrace. The cult is filling an emotional void members had been unable to fill otherwise. I think the author was emphatic when writing the survivors, also the members who did not, those who believed to the very end, and those who may have wavered. As the reader, some characters were open books (see what I did there?), while others would always remain enigmas. It is a nonlinear timeline, but easily marked so you will not be confused, which I appreciated.

As always, saying too much about the story can spoil it. I will say these suggestions:

Adam Nevill wrote Last Days, which is another fictional novel with a cult, that is not quite similar, adjacent maybe? If you have read it and enjoyed, I think you would like this novel.

The Veil (2016) is a cult movie with Jessica Alba and Thomas Jane, which I absolutely think should get more love, but also if you have seen it and dug it, you know the deal...check out this book yeah?

The Endless (2017) is a cult movie with Aaron Moorhead and Justin Benson, I immediately thought of this movie while reading, because TCoRP invoked that same head rush; I knew I experienced something new to the sub-genre and I was loving it. As above so below, like this movie, I think you would like this book.

This is my first work by the author I have read, but I am going to be looking up all his work that I can to catch up. I also am going to buy a copy of my own, because I want to hold that beautiful cover in my hands when I read it again. ( )
  DedDuckie | Nov 12, 2020 |
Children of Red Peak was a slow burn story, and you unearth what happened to the Family from the survivor’s memories as they do. Given what the children went through leading up to the last days at Red Peak, I can see why they spent their entire lives trying to have any semblance of normalcy in their lives with varying degrees of success. While the story itself was interesting, had good pacing, and kept my interest, it lacked that spark for me. I’m undecided on how I feel about the ending – it felt a little predictable and not genuinely believable.

The story unfolds through three different points of view – David, Deacon, and Beth. Each survivor bears the burden of their past with the Family in their own way. I was surprised that we never experience Angela’s point of view, and it makes me wonder what it would be like – especially since she was a skeptic of the Family, at best. While Angela wasn’t mentioned in the synopsis, I held out hope that she would get a chapter or two. In addition to the three points of view, there are also two separate timelines – past and present. At times I had to go back a little bit to see whose viewpoint I was currently in and what time frame I was currently reading in.

Craig DiLouie did a top-notch job at encompassing how groups like the Family have positives as well. If delving into religious subjects isn’t your thing, you may not enjoy this book. It also contains extreme religious beliefs, self-harm in the form of religious purification, suicide, and homicide – they’re described in detail. For a minute there the psychology speak and terms bogged the story down. I’m not one for having to look things up while reading for clarification.

I would recommend Children of Red Peak to readers who enjoy psychological thrillers, cults/doomsday cults, religious organizations, and the supernatural. A big thank you to Redhook Books for the gifted copy to read and review – all opinions are my own. *Rounded up from 3.5 stars* ( )
  thereviewbooth | Nov 4, 2020 |
I received this novel from Orbit Books through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review: my thanks to both of them for this opportunity.

This is my third book from author Craig DiLouie - the previous ones being One of Us and Our War - and it will certainly not be my last: in The Children of Red Peak he once again takes us on the hard but compelling path of betrayed innocence and damaged youth, and does so with clarity and empathy while not sparing any kind of emotional punch.

Siblings Angela and David, and their friends Deacon, Beth and Emily are the only survivors of a terrible event that occurred fifteen years ago: they were part of the religious group called Family of the Living Spirit, and on that fateful night, as the group committed mass suicide in the belief that the end of the world was near, they barely escaped from the Californian retreat at Red Peak, from which - incomprehensibly - no bodies were ever recovered once the alerted authorities reached the area. Now grown up and separated by their different life choices, they meet after a long time for Emily’s funeral: their friend ended her life quite unexpectedly and this event forces them to connect again with a past they would rather forget.

The story alternates between the present and flashbacks to the past, where we see how the community, secluded from the world as it was, was a place of peace and comfort, of hard, honest labor and shared kindness - that is, until something changed drastically and the relocation to Red Peak brought on a downward shift that culminated in that horrific night.

The remaining four survivors have not escaped unscathed, of course: Angela is a hardened police officer in Las Vegas; her brother David is married and has two children, but he keeps apart from them preferring to drown himself in his work; Deacon is now a musician pouring all his anguish and pain into the songs he writes; and Beth has become a psychologist, but is clearly suffering from PTSD, no matter how much she denies it. Emily’s suicide convinces them that they must go back to Red Peak, where it all happened and where something dreadfully mysterious both seemed to influence the adults and to cause their disappearance in such a fashion that no one could believe possible, not the authorities who interrogated them, nor the five youngsters themselves. Facing once again the place where it all happened (and where, by the way, similar uncanny occurrences were recorded in the past) might bring the four of them the closure they need, and maybe offer the answers to the questions that still plague them after fifteen harrowing years.

The news have offered us examples of the tragic consequences of extreme religious beliefs carried beyond their intended original purpose - what happened in Guyana with Jim Jones’ community being a most dramatic one and an appropriate comparison with the events described in this novel - and The Children of Red Peak tries to analyze the issues that could lead a well-intentioned congregation toward a self-immolating path. True, there is an unknown, unfathomable element added here, but some of the dynamics explored before the fateful move to Red Peak are completely human, and the author shows a notable degree of compassion when he examines the adults’ behavior, particularly that of the leader Reverend Peale, a man driven by honest beliefs, and the will to establish a community where strong faith and the desire to create a safe environment far from the hurts and the dangers of the outside world, are the foundation of the Family.

As I read I often wondered if that kind of separation from the rest of the world, combined with the strong belief that the end times were at hand and that the members of the Family had to be prepared for them, did not act as a catalyst for the appalling developments after the move to Red Peak, where punishing climate, exhausting labor and poor nutrition brought everyone to a state of extreme susceptibility to Peale’s instructions and to the mysterious force dwelling in the mountain. As the children observe:

Their home had changed from a lush valley to a desert mountain, their parents had traded contentment for a forced cheerfulness […]

There is no condemnation for the adults’ actions as they prepare for the afterlife through gruesome acts of “purification” (and I can assure you I recoiled at some descriptions), but only the compassion of an observer who tries to understand how the best teachings, and the best intentions, can be led so dramatically astray and how - and this is my own consideration - a too-tight focus on the goal based solely on dogma, and not a healthy dose of reason, can make people blind to consequences.

This lack of condemnation walks hand in hand with a lack of answers to the many questions the story lays down, leaving the ending open to interpretation, as it’s only right considering the complex issues at the core of the novel, and as I’ve come to expect from Craig DiLouie’s works, where thought-provoking ideas are posed to the readers so they can draw their own conclusions.

The Children of Red Peak has been DiLouie’s most traumatic work for me so far, but it’s also one that will instigate many considerations for a long, long time. ( )
  SpaceandSorcery | Oct 2, 2020 |
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