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The Red Church: A Supernatural Thriller (Sheriff Littlefield Books Book 1) [Kindle Edition]

Scott Nicholson
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)

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Product Description


"A wonderful storyteller, he is at the top of his game in The Red Church." -- Author Sharyn McCrumb

"Like Stephen King, Nicholson has an eye and ear for the rhythms of rural America and summons serious scares." -- Bentley Little, author of The Association

"Like Stephen King, he has an eye and ear for the rhythms of rural America, and like King he knows how to summon serious scares." -- Author Bentley Little

"Nicholson writes with a mixture of H.P. Lovecraft and Clive Barker, stirred with a dose of his own originality." -- Kevin J. Anderson, author of Hopscotch

"Readers will sense echoes of Stephen King's classic 'Castle Rock' tales, but there's a tasty strain of Lovecraft here, too." -- Author Stewart O'Nan

"Readers will sense echoes of Stephen King's classic Castle Rock tales in The Red Church. Scott Nicholson knows the territory." -- Stewart O'Nan, author of The Circus Fire

"Scott Nicholson explores a nightmare country that ends in Stephen King's yard. A wonderful storyteller." -- Sharyn McCrumb, author of the Ballad novels

"Scott Nicholson writes with a mixture of Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft and Manly Wade Wellman." -- Author Kevin J. Anderson

“Rarely does a story teller weave prose with the emotional energy and sheer gusto of Nicholson.” --, December 2000

Product Description

Stoker Award finalist with more than 100,000 copies sold, from the international bestselling author of McFALL and DRUMMER BOY. A boy and a sheriff must solve the mystery of a haunted Appalachian church when a strange preacher returns to town.

"Like Stephen King, he knows how to summon serious scares. My advice? Buy everything he writes." - Bentley Little, The Haunted

"Nobody thrills like Nicholson does. Nobody." -- J.A. Konrath, The List


For 13-year-old Ronnie Day, life is full of problems: Mom and Dad have separated, his brother Tim is a constant pest, Melanie Ward either loves him or hates him, and Jesus Christ won't stay in his heart. Plus he has to walk past the red church every day, where the Bell Monster hides with its wings and claws and livers for eyes. But the biggest problem is that Archer McFall is the new preacher at the church, and Mom wants Ronnie to attend midnight services with her.

Sheriff Frank Littlefield hates the red church for a different reason. His little brother died in a freak accident at the church twenty years ago, and now Frank is starting to see his brother's ghost. And the ghost keeps demanding, "Free me." People are dying in Whispering Pines, and the murders coincide with McFall's return.

The Days, the Littlefields, and the McFalls are descendants of the original families that settled the rural Appalachian community. Those old families share a secret of betrayal and guilt, and McFall wants his congregation to prove its faith. Because he believes he is the Second Son of God, and that the cleansing of sin must be done in blood.

"Sacrifice is the currency of God," McFall preaches, and unless Frank and Ronnie stop him, everybody pays.


Scott Nicholson is author of 20 thriller, including the AFTER series, THE HOME, LIQUID FEAR, and SPEED DATING WITH THE DEAD.

"Scott Nicholson is the kind of writer who always thrills and always entertains." --Jonathan Maberry, Patient Zero

"Scott Nicholson understands that the best horror novels achieve primal fear through a combination of sustained atmosphere, richly drawn characters, and believable if uncanny evils that draw unholy power from everyday lives. The Red Church is a damn scary story well told." --Christopher Ransom, author of the international bestseller, The Birthing House

"A master of atmospheric suspense." --Eric Wilson, NY Times bestselling novelist

Product Details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3793 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Haunted Computer Books (July 19 2014)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0032FPYD8
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (41 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #108,475 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars No character complexity Nov. 15 2015
Format:Kindle Edition
This book didn't pull me in with its unique storyline or well-rounded characters. I had a hard time relating with the characters because there was little going for any of them. Even the ones with the greatest potential ultimately fell flat for one simple reason--the main "evil" in this book is too evil. Once it comes in contact with any given character they are helplessly swayed regardless of personal conviction or desire and become faceless, brainless zombie-like characters. There are the select few that somehow escape such infection, but it seems a bit lackluster. Only one character had the supposed "faith" that makes him nit effected the same way, but there are other characters that aren't effected and don't have the same faith system.

Ultimately it is another story with lots of gross things and some religion undertones to bring in the "horror" elements. What makes a "horror" book good is the psychological turmoil that the evil has on the characters and the hard choices they are forced to make because of it. The Red Church is lacking in this crucial area.

Though the religious undertones and well thought out and work better than in many books, nothung else really hits home. There is enough depth in the religious plot to not just book the book down after chapter one, but not enough of anything else to really draw in or stick with the reader.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Ummm..... Really wanted to like this one. April 22 2004
By J
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Call me old-fashioned, but I feel that a horror novel should at least:
1)approach scaring the reader.
2)have characters that the reader _wants_ to form some kind of attachment to.
3)provide a story that is both 'unique' and exciting.
4)have an ending that leaves the reader at least nodding with a 'not bad old-timer' look on the face.
5)ummm... Whatever
This book failed on every count... Though it was a quick/fun read (hence the star) I feel that episodes of 'Trading Spaces' have scared and compelled me more. This will not stop me from picking up the author's second book. I feel that his writing style is easy on the eyes and moves along quite well.
One other note: I really feel that 'The Red Church' hints at some reservations about oragnized religion on the author's part. Certain exchanges in the book felt more like a 'let's see if I can be critical of religion and shock the reader' ploy, which come out looking more like high school angst against going to church... As a fan of Lovecraftian writing and a 'scholar' of world religions I really wanted to like this book but was quite let down. Just my 2 cents
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4.0 out of 5 stars Rural gothic that chills the bones Oct. 16 2003
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I am always searching for fresh new faces in the horror field. Scott Nicholson has received quite a lot of attention since the publication of The Red Church, his first novel. What attracted me most to this novel was its summary at the back, which seemed original and quite elaborate for the plot of a horror paperback . Just like you would never recommend a deeply religious person to sit through The Exorcist, you would definitely not want such a person to read The Red Church either. This novel takes religious fanaticism to morbid extremes.
In the 1800's, reverend Wendell McFall' sermons declared the existence of the second son of God, whose mission it is to destroy the work and the existence of Jesus, God's first son. McFall had his church painted red to summon the first son to defeat the second. But when he sacrificed a newborn child to support his rantings, his congregation hung him from the rafters of the church.
Fast forward to present time. The Red Church still stands but has long been abandoned, used only as a site for Hallowen pranks and as a place for the young to drink and fornicate. When a mutilated body is discovered on the grounds of The Red Church by 13-year-old Ronnie and his young brother Tim, it shocks the townfolk and law enforcement officials of this peaceful and sleepy mountain community. When a second and third body are discovered, Sheriff frank Littlefield senses that these murders are not being committed by a raving lunatic or a serial killer but that The Red Church is in some way responsible. Frank doesn't think it to be a mere coincidence that theses murders started occuring when Archer McFall, a descendant of the hung preacher, returns to town and purchases The Red Church in an effort to restore it to its past glory.
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Format:Mass Market Paperback
THE RED CHURCH is an impressive first novel by a young horror writer who's sure to make a name for himself if he continues to produce work of this caliber. North Carolina native Scott Nicholson has clearly been influenced by some of the most accomplished veterans of the genre--Stephen King and Robert McCammon most notably--and has wisely borrowed and imitated the elements that work best in his own style, and, for the most part, left behind those that don't.
What impressed me about THE RED CHURCH right off is the easy self-assurance of Nicholson's voice. First novels frequently cop a tone that is either excessively overbearing or else downright noncommital. Nicholson manages to hit a sweet spot somewhere right in the middle.
It helps Nicholson greatly that he already knows much of what's important to him as a writer--place, atmosphere, and a concern for detailed portraiture head off the list. It's clear that he goes after those things with almost every word he puts on the page.
Equally important to Nicholson as his many literary influences are his rural Appalachian surroundings. With a simple but impressive use of language, Nicholson makes his world lilt and dance to its own dark breezes and shadows.
If there's one major flaw in the otherwise vivid and skillful Red Church, it's that it doesn't end nearly as well as it begins. After he manages to create such a rich, self-sustaining fictional world peopled with mostly interesting and complex characters, it's slightly disappointing when Nicholson allows himself to get bogged down with the mechanics of tying his plot together.
The first two thirds of the novel read like the real living, breathing thing, and the last third feels a little too much like a flow chart.
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Most recent customer reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting story
The Red Church is about supernatural happenings centered around a religious cult in the mountains of North Carolina. Read more
Published on March 16 2004 by DH
4.0 out of 5 stars Keep the lights on for this one
I read this while vacationing on the Disney Cruise Line. Even surrounded by Mickey and all his friends, I was absolutely creeped out. Read more
Published on Feb. 16 2004 by Jeannette Trayser
5.0 out of 5 stars Scary and Thought Provoking
I have long ago become immune to scary stories actually scaring me but this one holds a disturbing theme that reminds me of every religious fanatic out there. Read more
Published on Dec 1 2003 by Fred Rayworth
5.0 out of 5 stars Campy, Old-School Horror
Fans of early King and Barker will dig this. Nicholson may do to backwood North Carolina what King did to rural Maine. Read more
Published on Oct. 11 2003 by S. Sommerville
4.0 out of 5 stars A Reader's Opinion
As an unpublished writer, my opinion on writing styles and formats and first books is probably not worth a grain of salt to anyone reading this review. Read more
Published on Sept. 29 2003 by Donna O.
3.0 out of 5 stars Solid First Novel
This Bram Stoker nominee for first novel is stronger than it's competition ("Atmosphere" by Michael Laimo, etc.). Read more
Published on Sept. 21 2003 by William M Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good novel with a new premise.
This book was alot better than i had expected it to be. The writer is very good at bulding suspense and make's the story very creepy and unsettling. Read more
Published on July 18 2003 by Jim
4.0 out of 5 stars A Promising Start
Whispering Pines, North Carolina has a grim secret in its past. During the painful throes of the American Civil War, local preacher Wendell McFall went stark raving mad. Read more
Published on June 17 2003 by Jeffrey Leach
3.0 out of 5 stars Very Original
This book is unlike any horror novel I've read thus far. It has an original flavor to it. Over 100 years ago a minister (Wendell McFall), who preached that God had a second son... Read more
Published on June 5 2003 by Amazon Customer
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