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A Passion For Horror

Book Review: The Farm by Scott Nicholson


The Farm by Scott Nicholson

The Farm

By Scott Nicholson

The Farm was first published in 2006. It is the story of a woman and her young daughter, who move to the country for a fresh start, but only find fresh problems.

With one failed marriage behind her, Katy Logan remarries and hopes to provide her daughter, Jett, with a more stable environment. So she gives up her job in Charlotte and moves to the small town of Solom, in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Her new husband, Gordon, is a college lecturer; he owns a farm there and on that farm he has some goats. And a scarecrow—let's not forget the scarecrow because that thing is creepy. Even when it stays put, and doesn't start moving around, it is still one creepy, old, straw-filled dude.
From the very first word, of the very first chapter, as a reader, you know that something is wrong. That first word is lilacs and Katy knows for a fact that the smell of lilacs has no business being in her kitchen. It's not just the smell though, lots of strange things happen in the kitchen: jars fall from the shelves and a voice calls Katy's name from the pantry.
Jett is having difficulty settling into her new home as well. She misses her friends, she hates Gordon and his goats in equal measures, and she has no idea at all where the best place is to score some pot. Jett has promised Katy that she will never touch drugs again, but that promise is getting harder and harder for her to keep. Especially now that she is being stalked by a strange figure in a black hat, who turns up at the most unexpected places and even seems to have the ability to walk through solid objects.
Another thing that worries Jett is the strange change that has come over her mother since the move to Solom. Katy was never really much of a cook, but now she is obsessed with cooking and spends more and more time in the kitchen using recipes that belonged to Gordon's first wife, Rebecca, who, by all accounts, died in rather mysterious circumstances.
The new passion for cooking is not the only change that Jett has noticed in her mother. Katy often seems distant and at one point doesn't even know who Jett is talking about when she quotes a line from a Tommy Keene song. Yet Katy is a Keene fan and the line that Jett used was from one of her mother's own CDs. Very strange. And as the pages turn things get stranger still. Scarier too, and all is not well in Solom.
I have always liked haunted house stories and The Farm is a very good haunted house story. But there is an awful lot more going on in the book than just a haunted, old farm house. There is for instance the story of The Circuit Rider—a long dead preacher, who still visits Sodom from time to time. He spends part of that time looking for his horse, the rest of the time he busies himself with . . . more serious matters.

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Goats are very important to the story too, and do you know what? After reading The Farm I don't think that I will ever see a goat in quite the same light again. I have never been scared of goats. I mean, who's scared of goats? Well, if anything is ever going to turn that around it's The Farm because Scott Nicholson makes goats sound very scary indeed. He also keeps the action coming all the way through the book and the closer I got to the end of it, the harder I found it to put it down. I just needed to know what was going to happen next, if it would all turn out okay in the end, and whether or not the goats would eat any of the main characters.

~ List of Scott Nicholson books reviewed on this site ~


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