In the fall of 1980, predators are roaming remote corners of Texas. One of these predators is a serial killer with a disturbed past. The other is a creature that wants to turn him into an even deadlier beast. Andy Davidson’s In the Valley of the Sun is a chilling horror novel in which these predators battle each other and their natures, all while innocents try to cope with the sinister things in their midst.
Travis Stillwell is a dangerous man, especially for women with a certain color of hair, of a specific age, and who have a penchant for honky-tonks. He has killed three such women in just a few weeks when he meets the woman who kills him. Travis doesn’t realize it at first, not until he starts getting terrible sunburns and throwing up any food or water he ingests—except for blood. The woman who kills him wants him to be a predator. Together, she thinks, they will live forever because, without blood, they fade away into nothing.
In his slow, meandering way west in his truck and cabover, Travis eventually fetches up in Cielo Rojo, Texas at the hotel/RV Park/café owned by the widowed Annabel and her son, Sandy. During the day, Travis does heavy labor in exchange for a place to park—and fights both his new and old hungers. Reading this book is almost painfully tense at times, as I waited for Travis to lose his battle against his demons or for Annabel, Sandy, and the Texas Ranger who is following Travis’ trail to figure out what they’re up against.
In the Valley of the Sun was an entertaining change from the books I’ve been reading lately. Sometimes, I just need a good horror novel to spice things up and get my heart pounding. I would highly recommend it to readers who might need the same.