Simon & Schuster, 2008 (2008)
Reviewed by Lyn Seippel
llison and her five friends survive the fire that destroys the Divine Path where they live with their parents. In fact, they plan the fire that burns the religious compound to the ground. The fire is intended to kill cult leader Jacob Crawley who calls himself a prophet. His abuses are destroying them all. The next time he disciplines them, he may kill them.
heir plan allows them to save their families, but when they try to rescue them, they are already dead. Without families, they have no one but each other, until the sheriff of Meridian, North Carolina decides they should go their separate ways. They'll each have a fresh start where no one knows who they are or what has happened to them. He sends them to live in different parts of the country and they are not told where the others are going.
hen Harold, the first friend dies, he is somehow returned to Meridian, where his body is found in a tobacco field. Allison remembers Jacob's prophecy. He told them that within five years they would all die by the thing that frightens them the most.
arold's funeral is to be held in Meridian. Allison goes to the funeral hoping the others will also come. Once there, she realizes that they've been lured back to Meridian to die.
acob Crawley and his side-kick, the doctor, are truly terrifying characters. Fahy has written a suspenseful horror story, moving from the present and flashing back to the past to show the time the friends spent in the Divine Path compound. The grim earlier events could have stretched the horror and suspense if they were told as a part of the story. The rather disappointing ending ties together the plot threads about Allison's little sister who was murdered before Jacob Crawley came to Meridian, rather than giving her death the importance it deserved.
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