The Chill #BookReview

Scott Carson | February 2020 | pgs: 448

My Experience: Im not sure how I found this book but, the universe sure is funny. I read this in June when my intention was to avoid anything realistic. I guess I forgot my reality is greater than my gender and/or race. 🤦🏾‍♀️ Cheers to the universe for the reminder..more on this later.

The Chill refers to the Chilewaukee Reservoir in upstate New York. The reservoir and dam were built to serve the people in New York City and beyond, but, it came at the expense of a small unwilling town. Apparently, the town folk, mostly black, did not want to give up their land for the dam but was eventually forced out…in a way. Some died with the town, or rather, for the town, some moved to another town close by, Torrence. The story of the old buried town comes to light through the narration of the Torrences sheriff, Mick, his wayward son Aaron, and a local girl, Gillian, turned cop, with familial ties to the old buried town.

Quick nod to my reality: I live in North Georgia, close to a man-made dam, similar to the Chilewaukee! Lake Lanier was built by the Army Corp of engineers in 1957. The lake is 30 miles long, with over 650 miles of shoreline. The reservoir and Buford Dam was meant to manage water flow for the Chattahoochie River, supplying the city of Atlanta with water. The build displaced 250 families, 15 businesses, and 20 cemeteries, over 50,000 acres of land. Many of the structures in the town were simply left and flooded out. Divers today can see roads, homes, street signs, left vacant. (Its the cemeteries for me y’all.🙄) The government claims 99% of the cemeteries were relocated but, many Atlantans will claim the lake is haunted.

Personally, I’ve never seen a damn thing. 🤣😂 The lake is beautiful, surrounded by miles of trails and woodlands, places to camp and beach. My dog and I walk those trails often. Im not a boater – yet, but, I do enjoy sitting on the shore and watching folks get their boats in and out of the water. I wanted to read this book because I think it takes the story of the build and creates a great fictional ghost story.

I enjoyed the story. It starts slow but, in retrospect, I think its the authors writing style. The story is told through each characters point of view, letting us learn the story, their role, and how they feel about it. I loved that aspect. Each character is complex; no hard-cut angels or devils here. These are realistic folk, buckling under the burden of their past and proposed future. Mick is hurting from a recent loss and public failures of his son, Aaron. Aaron is hurting from the same loss, he wants a better relationship with his father and blames his self and poor judgment for not being able to have one. Gilliam is smart but, torn between the history she was told and her new world as a police officer.

Aaron, who seems to have lost his way and found drugs, parties and bad influences, was once Torrences champion swimmer, regularly swimming the rough channels of ‘The Chill’ without problem. On the day we meet him, he and pops have been arguing and his dad attempts to administer some tough love by pointing out Aarons life is a shit show and he cant do anything he once did, including swim the channel. Well, of course that means Aaron has to do just that! 🤦🏾‍♀️ No matter the storm of the century seems to be minutes away from land. While in the water, Aaron finds what he thinks is a dead body, or two…and here the party starts.

Pros: Yay, a real ghost story! Not overwhelmingly frightening but, definitely creepy and interesting. I really grew to like Aaron, even with his flaws. Reading his point of view about his relationship with his parents and subsequent fall from town star to failed Coast Guard Diver, was the most interesting for me. As a matter of fact, all the characters had very interesting backstories and point of views. Though it starts slow and there are a few, seeming side plots, the author does a good job of tying it all together and making sense out of it.

Cons: My attention wained in some spots as the author deep dived the technical history of the reservoir, dam building and repair and the dynamics of a good swimmer. 🤦🏾‍♀️ I didn’t care and it didn’t push the story forward.

I admit, though the characters were interesting, there were a lot of them. And because the story is told through each characters point of view, it started to get a bit tough keeping up with who was who. The ending especially was chaotic as all things came together. I felt the author used the same writing style, telling us about the divers – again, I didn’t care, it didn’t push the story forward, and just added more characters for us to know about and differentiate – info overload.

Overall, ⭐️ ⭐️⭐️⭐️ from me. Great ghost story, diverse characters, great character development. If you are a person that enjoys reading books about people and how they think as they are facing trauma, this is the book for you! If you happen to be one of the millions of people visiting my little ghost town on Lake Lanier next year – I dare you to read it while on the lake! *que evil laugh!* bwahahahaha!! GoodBook 31 of 42

StoryGraph Summary: Far upstate, in New York’s ancient forests, a drowned village lays beneath the dark, still waters of the Chilewaukee reservoir. Early in the 20th century, the town was destroyed for the greater good: bringing water to the millions living downstate. Or at least that’s what the politicians from Manhattan insisted at the time. The local families, settled there since America’s founding, were forced from their land, but they didn’t move far, and some didn’t move at all…

Now, a century later, the repercussions of human arrogance are finally making themselves known. An inspector assigned to oversee the dam, dangerously neglected for decades, witnesses something inexplicable. It turns out that more than the village was left behind in the waters of the Chill when it was abandoned. The townspeople didn’t evacuate without a fight. A dark prophecy remained, too, and the time has come for it to be fulfilled. Those who remember must ask themselves: who will be next? For sacrifices must be made. And as the dark waters begin to inexorably rise, the demand for a fresh sacrifice emerges from the deep.

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