Canyon Shadows by C.R. Langille

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An ancient evil awakes near the small town of Canyon Shadows, Utah. Garrett Porter, an antiques dealer whose wife and daughter died in a car crash a year ago and who is trying to quit drinking, is drawn to the town. Troy Grimes, a man investigating his father’s suicide and who’s trying to quit smoking, is also drawn to the town. The mysterious Sheriff Dan Blackwood lives in Canyon Shadows and can sense something big is coming. When an ancient evil has the ability to possess the bodies of both the living and the dead, you can’t feel safe around anybody.

The story is mainly told from the point of view of these three men, although we’re also given the point of view of several minor characters. Sometimes the viewpoint shifts from one person to another in rapid succession. Each chapter also starts with a journal entry from a group of medieval Templars who traveled to Utah and encountered the same evil centuries before. I would have liked the medieval sections more if they’d used more archaic language. Since they’re written in fairly modern language, it took me out of the story.

Most of the characters in the book are male. About our only female point of view is Garrett’s friend and co-worker, Allison Montgomery. Unfortunately, she acts like a school girl with a crush most of the time and also ends up becoming a damsel in distress. There is more to her character than this, though. She is good at her job and does her part to help combat the evil presence. Overall, though, she just felt like a tacked-on romantic interest. While their personalities are fleshed out to an extant, the male characters also didn’t quite feel like real people.

All books have typos and Canyon Shadows is no exception. It didn’t have as many typos as some books, but it had enough to be distracting. This book felt a bit cliche at times and some scenes felt repetitious. Jump scares don’t work quite as well in book form as they do in the movies. Possessed people’s eyes turn black, their noses bleed profusely, they laugh maniacally, and smile wider than is humanly possible. This wouldn’t be so bad except it’s overdone. We see scenes like this over and over again and it starts to get boring. If this book were a movie, the final half hour would consist of pretty much non-stop laughing on the part of the bad guys. These scenes would have been scarier if there were less of them. Sometimes, less is more.

While getting through the repetitious scenes was a bit hard at times, overall the book largely kept me interested all the way through to the end. A fairly decent read that I had a lot of fun with.

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