The Beasts of Vissaria County
Douglas Ford
D & T Publishing (October 6, 2021)
Reviewed by Elaine Pascale

The Beasts of Vissaria County is a gothic thriller filled with easter eggs for horror fans. The main character, Maggie McKenzie has returned to her father’s home to try to rebuild a life and raise her son in a safe environment. She and her father do not have the best of relationships, but living with him beats being with her abusive ex. Maggie learns that a stranger has moved into the abandoned estate next door and the new neighbor is creepy in captivating ways.

The Beasts of Vissaria County contains the desecrated grave of a witch, possessed masks, werewolves, and satanic old Hollywood. The characters steer clear of stereotypes; I particularly enjoyed the town librarian and her repeat patron. Maggie’s father is a recognizable “old curmudgeon” but Ford adds nuances to the character that heightens the humor of the novel. Maggie is neither damsel-in-distress, nor final girl. She walks a tightrope in between, harnessing power from trauma and surviving by a combination of wit and luck.

I recommend The Beasts of Vissaria County. It is thoroughly engaging and a must-own for fans of monster mythology. It has enough occult and supernatural presence to satisfy fans of the mystic and paranormal, but also enough psychological horror to satiate fans of realism. There are clever twists and cleverer entanglements. The Beasts of Vissaria County is sharp teeth and sharp prose and a book you will definitely enjoy.

About Elaine Pascale

Elaine Pascale had been writing her entire life. She lives on Cape Cod with her husband, son and daughter. Her writing has been published in several magazines and anthologies. She is the author of Blood Lights, and If Nothing Else, Eve, We’ve Enjoyed the Fruit. Elaine enjoys a robust full moon, chocolate, and collecting cats.