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Beth is in her final year of primary school when the local minister vanishes without a trace, somewhere out on the lonely road out of town. James, a quiet lad in her class, was close with the old man. When James starts holding odd ritual games and sleeping out in the old church, Beth finds herself drawn into James' terrifying, beguiling window into the adult world where people have affairs; people run away; people die - and there are forces older and scarier than God out on the cold black road out of town.
Set in the isolated and not-quite-idyllic idyll of rural Ayrshire, Scotland, the story is a love letter to the British tradition of folk horror. Moreso, it is a love letter to the idiosyncratic folk horror of my childhood - boarded up churches, black ice on unlit roads, teenage poachers roaming the woods with rifles, local alcoholics vanishing into thin air on cold nights. The Congregation is my first novel.
Writing sample available upon request.