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Elizabeth Massie ‘Desper Hollow’ Review


Written by: Tyler Reedy

When the matriarch of a mountain moonshine family decides she wants to live forever, things take a turn for the worse. Her “immortality moonshine” does bring the dead back to life (or a semblance of life) and zombies terrorize a small backwoods mining community in this different and entertaining entry to the zombie laden horror genre.

Elizabeth Massie was a name I hadn’t heard before. I’m ashamed to say her name seemed to have slipped through the floor cracks and I hadn’t had the chance to enjoy this author’s fiction before now. Fiction that has been extolled by Bentley Little, one of my favorite authors.  Massie has created an wonderful entry in Southern Horror and she has done so quite expertly. As one who lives in the south, I can tell you she is extremely accurate in the depiction of the mountainous southern territory from the tulip trees and sprawling pines to the chicory and Queen Anne’s lace that line the roads. I suppose you have to have been to the south to appreciate these details, but all my waxing aside, this book is an interesting take on the mainstream zombie novel. I mean, let’s face it, zombies can only get so different, so you can still expect the flesh and brain eating monsters you grew up with and in those respects this novel doesn’t break any new ground.  It’s the characters and enchanting setting instead that make this novel great.

Being set in the south, you can’t seem to get away from the Deliverance style of hillbilly mountain folk, but only a portion of the characters are as such, like Jenkie Mustard who has taken up Granny Mustard’s moonshine experiments.  One of the other main characters, Kathy Shaw, is your more educated person along with her preacher father.  Jack and Sam are from Los Angeles looking for the next big reality show.  A much more city-slicker side of the spectrum.  Now the most intriguing character has to be one of the zombies.  Yes, a zombie as a main character, and not just any zombie, this one has somehow maintained a semblance of sentience and higher thinking.  This is where things get interesting and have you wondering how things are going to develop, because you usually don’t get to hear the zombie’s side of the story.  It had me guessing as to the motives of the zombie and in the end I was miles off point.   Keeping you guessing is the mark of a good horror novel and Massie succeeds at this very well.  It takes a little bit of setting up, but the last half of the book is action filled and the ending is wrapped neatly like a present (or as neat as it gets in the horror genre).  The only real faults I could find were some spelling and grammar errors which pop up fairly frequently.  Technical problems aside, I believe it could have been transformed into an zombie novel of epic proportions if it were longer and more fleshed out, but as it stands right now it’s a great novel  and I wish the idea could be transformed into a mini-series along the lines of Twin Peaks.  So if that sounds right up your alley, or you’re just tired of bland zombies, then I strongly suggest picking up Desper Hollow and taking a trip down south with Elizabeth Massie.

Order Desper Hollow right here.

Rating: 3.5/5

About The Overseer (1669 Articles)
Author of Say No to Drugs, writer for Blumhouse, Dread Central, Horror Novel Reviews and Addicted to Horror Movies.

2 Comments on Elizabeth Massie ‘Desper Hollow’ Review

  1. A different take in Zombie land ? That is at the very least some good news. Not being a number one fan of the genre I can still appreciate the idea of a different point of view and this one seems to be doing just that. It is always unfortunate though when the editing is not up to par. Thanks for the insight here…just me…vitina


  2. I like the idea she didn’t just place the story in the south, but really used all the details such an unusual and vivid setting provides. Although I’ve seen many (many) zombie books, I don’t remember reading about a moonshine family before. Great review! 🙂


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