Gideon by Alex Gordon
Harper Voyager, 2015
Available: Trade paperback, Kindle edition
Gideon is a supernatural thriller that roots itself in the Midwest. When Lauren Reardon’s father dies, she discovers that something dark is hidden in his past: and his past connects her to the small town of Gideon, Illinois. Gideon is a secretive, isolated town, with a history that involves terrible secrets, witchcraft, and murder.
Gordon is a talented writer and did a nice job of creating a creepy atmosphere. The problem with the novel is its structure. The book gets off to a slow start, with the first seven chapters devoted to creating a historical backdrop (part one is set in 1836, and part two is set in 1841) for the events of the novel. That is a lot of story before we even meet Lauren. Gordon clearly did a lot of research in the process of writing the book, as the period feels accurate in its details, but I felt that connecting to Lauren as a character was more difficult, since she wasn’t introduced earlier in the text.
Once Lauren’s part of the story gets moving, the novel gets more interesting, but due to the slow pacing, her best writing happened too far into the text to really hook me. Gordon shows obvious passion on each page of her book, though, and the concept she uses is original enough that I think this book will hook other readers, and should get a chance in libraries.
Reviewed by David Agranoff