Hot Best Seller

Boys In the Valley

Availability: Ready to download

St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys. Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania. Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, thirty boys work and learn and worship. They live their lives in a methodical way and get along despite different personalities and pasts. Peter Barlow, orphaned by a nighttime murder at his childhood home, has made a new life here. As St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys. Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania. Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, thirty boys work and learn and worship. They live their lives in a methodical way and get along despite different personalities and pasts. Peter Barlow, orphaned by a nighttime murder at his childhood home, has made a new life here. As he approaches adulthood, he has friends, a future…family. Then, late one stormy night, a group of men arrive at their door, one of whom is badly wounded, his body covered with occult symbols carved into his flesh. Upon his death, an ancient evil is released that infests St. Vincent’s and the children within. Soon, boys begin acting differently, forming groups. Taking sides. Others turn up dead. Now Peter and those dear to him must choose sides of their own, each of them knowing their lives- and perhaps their eternal souls- are at risk.


Compare

St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys. Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania. Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, thirty boys work and learn and worship. They live their lives in a methodical way and get along despite different personalities and pasts. Peter Barlow, orphaned by a nighttime murder at his childhood home, has made a new life here. As St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys. Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania. Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, thirty boys work and learn and worship. They live their lives in a methodical way and get along despite different personalities and pasts. Peter Barlow, orphaned by a nighttime murder at his childhood home, has made a new life here. As he approaches adulthood, he has friends, a future…family. Then, late one stormy night, a group of men arrive at their door, one of whom is badly wounded, his body covered with occult symbols carved into his flesh. Upon his death, an ancient evil is released that infests St. Vincent’s and the children within. Soon, boys begin acting differently, forming groups. Taking sides. Others turn up dead. Now Peter and those dear to him must choose sides of their own, each of them knowing their lives- and perhaps their eternal souls- are at risk.

50 review for Boys In the Valley

  1. 5 out of 5

    Chandra Claypool (WhereTheReaderGrows)

    Locked-in orphanage horror? Take my money. Priests, an ancient evil and creepy kids? Take ALL my money! I couldn't help but want to read this one after I read the synopsis... though I was a little hesitant because sometimes these types of stories don't quite work for me. Happy to find that this was more unique and, for me, felt like a cross of Lord of the Flies meet Children of the Corn meet the Exorcist.. you get the gist, no? This is my first Fracassi and most definitely will not be my last. Hi Locked-in orphanage horror? Take my money. Priests, an ancient evil and creepy kids? Take ALL my money! I couldn't help but want to read this one after I read the synopsis... though I was a little hesitant because sometimes these types of stories don't quite work for me. Happy to find that this was more unique and, for me, felt like a cross of Lord of the Flies meet Children of the Corn meet the Exorcist.. you get the gist, no? This is my first Fracassi and most definitely will not be my last. His writing from first to last page is SO atmospheric... it felt ominous from the very first creepy smile. Fracassi gives us different POVs to where we see the struggle of the *priest potentials* not realizing they have a choice and then having to make one. Faith, loyalty to God.... these are all tested here. I will say that stories of faith aren't typically my thing and just because I'm me, I find myself feeling a bit meh during the parts where there's internal struggling of faith. However, I do realize it's an essential part of the story and while I was riveted to the pages, I didn't realize how invested I was until I could breathe again after I turned that final page. Also, can I just mention that I gave myself a paper cut turning a page and for just a teeny second thought the blood would resurrect some demon from the pages. Happy reading, folks!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Ross Jeffery

    One of the best books I’ve read this year! Religious horror is one of my favourite subgenres of horror – and this book ‘Boys In The Valley’ has it in bucket loads; so much of the stuff that I was drenched in it, think Stephen King’s Carrie on prom night, that was me by the stories conclusion – absolutely caked in the stuff, and I bloody loved it. This is my first time reading Fracassi’s work and it will not be my last, as I’ve found in this book another breath-taking author to champion and I look One of the best books I’ve read this year! Religious horror is one of my favourite subgenres of horror – and this book ‘Boys In The Valley’ has it in bucket loads; so much of the stuff that I was drenched in it, think Stephen King’s Carrie on prom night, that was me by the stories conclusion – absolutely caked in the stuff, and I bloody loved it. This is my first time reading Fracassi’s work and it will not be my last, as I’ve found in this book another breath-taking author to champion and I look forward to catching up on his other works and whatever he comes up with next. ‘Boys In The Valley’ focuses on St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys and those young men that are living under its roof, under the watchful eye of several priests many of which enjoy the torture they inflict in the steering of these young men into adulthood and departure from the orphanage or the possible guidance into the priesthood. Fracassi’s ability to pull the reader into this story is cemented with the opening chapter, a dark opening that ensnares the reader's heart and mind, refusing to let them go and forcing them, whether they want to or not to follow this path of destruction all the way to its biblical conclusion. Life in the orphanage is not as expected, it’s a cruel place, a place devoid of the much love and devotion these young boys need – many arriving through awful and heart-breaking circumstances, seemingly only to have been thrown from the frying pan into the fire. They are fragile things, near to breaking, and those that have managed to mend are still haunted, but a great many of these boys are destroyed further, through cruel punishments intent on gaining their obedience or apathy of their circumstance and hopes for the future. Our ray of hope in this place is the orphaned Peter, who although strong and an older brother to many of the young boys in the home also carries a dark past, one that utters its presence in the cold long nights. But there is hope for Peter, he’s been singled out as a boy with prospects, a possible priest in waiting – but does he want the gift of priesthood that is being offered or do the yearnings of his flesh hold a more pleasing path for this young boy approaching adulthood. If the nightmares these boys face couldn’t get any worse, one stormy night a group of men arrive at the orphanage, one is near death but somehow clinging to life, he’s covered in occult symbols and hides a dark secret – the men leave the following morning, but their chance encounter, their presence in that place leaves some ancient evil behind that begins to manifest in the lives, hearts and minds of the children. The scene of the half-dead man arriving at the house is full of insidious menace and is the fuse to the bomb that blows these lives apart by the stories conclusion - creepy, sinister, horrific and troubling. The depictions of this man and his crimes are nightmarish in their scope and the writing by Fracassi here is nothing but masterful, the imagery, the scene-setting and the gruesome depictions lodge themselves firmly in the reader's mind and turn the stomach as well as that swelling feeling of dread and horror and revulsion as we realise what is soon to come. The sense of dread festers throughout this book, it’s almost a single brooding note on an organ, and it’s unsettling and puts your teeth on edge. Soon allegiances are formed, the boys loyalty is called into question with one another and the priests who care for them – what is taking part is not survival, it’s a battle of good vs evil – a battle that has been waging for millennia, but who will survive and who will be spared – ‘Boys In The Valley’ is a gripping read that suffocates the reader and demands your attention. To go too much more into this story will spoil the surprise – so I’ll leave the review here, but one thing is for certain, horror now has a new and bold voice and his name is Philip Fracassi – this book is published by Earthling Publishing and I’m sure will and should get picked up for a wider release in the near future.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Terry

    I did an entire blathering, detail-free review of this on my YouTube channel, The Jeff Word. Here, I'll give you even less. I've never read anything by Fracassi before but that will change as of now. I loved this book. I was in deep immediately. It's both a slow-build and a fast page-turner. There are themes of good and evil, morality, mortality, family, purpose, and sacrifice. Imagine the isolation of The Shining and the demonic manipulation of The Exorcist. Add the struggles of early 20th centu I did an entire blathering, detail-free review of this on my YouTube channel, The Jeff Word. Here, I'll give you even less. I've never read anything by Fracassi before but that will change as of now. I loved this book. I was in deep immediately. It's both a slow-build and a fast page-turner. There are themes of good and evil, morality, mortality, family, purpose, and sacrifice. Imagine the isolation of The Shining and the demonic manipulation of The Exorcist. Add the struggles of early 20th century rural America. And include a heaping tablespoon of Catholicism. Now you have Boys in the Valley. I got an advance uncorrected proof from Earthling Publications in exchange for an honest review. But I also pre-ordered the hardcover because I honestly loved it. I strongly recommend this book for fans of quiet horror and those who enjoy good and evil bat around a building full of orphans. 4 FULL stars. The fullest.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tyler Cooper

    One of the best books I’ve read all year. Peter Barlow is such a well written and lovable character, but Philip Fracassi puts him through hell in Boys in the Valley. After surviving tragedy at such a young age, he faces even more anguish at St. Vincent’s orphanage. Such an exciting and terrifying story of evil that infects this group of boys that are already facing constant hunger and cruel punishment from Father Poole and Brother Johnson.

  5. 4 out of 5

    R.J. Huneke

    Strong, powerful. Earthling Halloween: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi is the fine press pick for the holiday this year, as a horrific The Exorcist meets Lord of The Flies story occurs at the St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys in rural Pennsylvania. There is a fun unnerving other worldliness to the historical setting for this circa 1900 horror tale. And the prose by author Philip Fracassi is tight, vivid, and compelling. On All Hallow’s Eve TFF covers the riveting Earthling Publications ARC rea Strong, powerful. Earthling Halloween: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi is the fine press pick for the holiday this year, as a horrific The Exorcist meets Lord of The Flies story occurs at the St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys in rural Pennsylvania. There is a fun unnerving other worldliness to the historical setting for this circa 1900 horror tale. And the prose by author Philip Fracassi is tight, vivid, and compelling. On All Hallow’s Eve TFF covers the riveting Earthling Publications ARC read leading up to the spooky season with the following Spoiler-free Preview Review** of Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi. Read the rest here: https://theforgottenfiction.com/earth...

  6. 5 out of 5

    Bob McCadden

    I don’t usually give 5 stars unless a book being finished makes me feel frozen with emotion. Boys in the valley succeeds at this in so many ways. This book starts out unassuming with kids and an orphanage. We learn who is who and where they’ve come from along with the staff of priests. Some good some seem a bit evil. In the middle of the night some people show up with a prisoner who has done the unthinkable. From there the creep factor builds and you will literally have goose bumps from these cr I don’t usually give 5 stars unless a book being finished makes me feel frozen with emotion. Boys in the valley succeeds at this in so many ways. This book starts out unassuming with kids and an orphanage. We learn who is who and where they’ve come from along with the staff of priests. Some good some seem a bit evil. In the middle of the night some people show up with a prisoner who has done the unthinkable. From there the creep factor builds and you will literally have goose bumps from these creepy kids…. The blurb on the cover is about an accurate description as I can think of “gut wrenching, heartbreaking, and terrifying”. It truly is all of these things and Left me with tears in my eyes. This limited edition book is the Halloween series book this year from Earthling Publications and there a still some left to preorder. Www.earthlingpub.com This will not be the last PhillipFracassi I read that’s for sure. What a ride!!! Just go order it…..

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul Preston

    “For better or worse, our home is a reclusive haven, settled deeply into the hollow of the valley’s throat.” Every time I read in this book it gave me a book hangover, whether I read just a couple pages or several chapters it left me having to transition back into my world because I was still so immersed in St. Vincent’s Orphanage with the boys. The setting is bleak, isolated, and very atmospheric however your heart warms to the place as, even in 1905, the grumblings and mutterings of the 32 youn “For better or worse, our home is a reclusive haven, settled deeply into the hollow of the valley’s throat.” Every time I read in this book it gave me a book hangover, whether I read just a couple pages or several chapters it left me having to transition back into my world because I was still so immersed in St. Vincent’s Orphanage with the boys. The setting is bleak, isolated, and very atmospheric however your heart warms to the place as, even in 1905, the grumblings and mutterings of the 32 young boys creates a connection that makes you long to be a part of it all, even if it’s just to lighten their mental and physical burdens. These characters as so real, you want to hug them and stand by them. David wonders early on in the book “What if he had been loved? If he’d been cared for? Educated? Given a chance to do something good with his life…” Things don’t stay the course as one night several men arrive at the orphanage with a wounded man that is crazy and possibly possessed. His arrival turned everything upside down and sparks a transformation throughout all aspects of the book. The good becomes evil and some of those that you thought were bad become good. Their security has turned into a trap as their home turns into a hell, and the bodies pile up like wood for the furnace. “One eye is missing, or burned shut, as the flesh looks to have melted over the socket. The other is open wide, showing the white, roving the room like a mad predator.” I am going to have to look for more books by Philip Fracassi. This was so good. I am also going to have to look for more of Earthling’s Halloween Series as this is the 16th book in that collection. Thank you to Paul Miller and Earthling Publications for this Advance Uncorrected Proof for an honest review.

  8. 4 out of 5

    steven duane

    "Boys in the Valley" by Philip Fracassi is an astonishing accomplishment for any author, let alone a debut novel. I have not been this blown away since I discovered Ania Ahlborn and Josh Malerman. This story has depth, meaning, deep loss, suffering, and pain. Yet, what really brings the story through is the companionship, hope, love and feeling in Mr. Fracassi's storytelling abilities. You really hope that these forgotten and abandoned little boys find away through all the horrors that you know a "Boys in the Valley" by Philip Fracassi is an astonishing accomplishment for any author, let alone a debut novel. I have not been this blown away since I discovered Ania Ahlborn and Josh Malerman. This story has depth, meaning, deep loss, suffering, and pain. Yet, what really brings the story through is the companionship, hope, love and feeling in Mr. Fracassi's storytelling abilities. You really hope that these forgotten and abandoned little boys find away through all the horrors that you know are coming. This is a story primarily about two boys, orphans dumped in a home ran by priests around the year 1900 in the Pennsylvania hills. One night, they are awoken in the middle of the night by knocking. Hard, desperate knocking followed by loud voices, the sounds of chaos erupting from below, laughter, all of it silenced by a gun shot. Everyone has their demons, most are hidden but not all. So, after the echo has faded from memory and the acrid lingering cloud of gunsmoke has dissipated into nothingness its time for some of that darkness to come out into the light. And things start to....happen around the orphanage. Kids disappear, kids start behaving differently, kids getting violent. As the sense of dread deepens you are drawn into the lives of the characters. Their dreams, struggles, hopes, and failures. I really don't want to spoil the masterful way in which Mr. Fracassi weaves it all together. So, I'll just finish by say this book is STILL AVAILABLE FOR SALE directly from Earthling Publications for so low a price it's almost ridiculous. 5 out of 5 Snouts 🐽🐽🐽🐽🐽 #earthlingpublications #philipfracassi

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kristyn

    4.5 rounded up for Goodreads Thank you to Paul Miller from Earthling Publications for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Boys in the Valley is a coming-of-age, good vs. evil story about Peter and his fellow orphans at St. Vincents Orphanage for Boys. The book opens with a brutal scene and it is apparent what kind of story awaits. I fell in love with Fracassi's writing from the beginning. There is a lot of description and I felt like I was truly transported to the places in 4.5 rounded up for Goodreads Thank you to Paul Miller from Earthling Publications for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Boys in the Valley is a coming-of-age, good vs. evil story about Peter and his fellow orphans at St. Vincents Orphanage for Boys. The book opens with a brutal scene and it is apparent what kind of story awaits. I fell in love with Fracassi's writing from the beginning. There is a lot of description and I felt like I was truly transported to the places in the book and could clearly see the sights and hear the sounds. There are a few main characters that narrate most of the story and they are all quite different. We have Peter who is one of the oldest boys at the orphanage and the main character, David who is Peter's age and his friend, Father Andrew who is Peter's mentor, Father Poole who is one of the leaders although not a very kind one, and Johnson who is an ex-con who works at the orphanage. I like the fact that they were each given a voice to tell their parts of the story. The book is told in four parts. Part One explains the events that put everything in motion. In Part Two, some of the boys start acting strange and this is where the dread and uneasiness really set in. Part Three really ramps up the gore and violence and I was holding my breath while frantically turning the pages to find out what was going to happen. Part Four really keeps the suspense going and brings us to the conclusion. I don't want to go into much detail because this is a story best discovered by reading it oneself. This is a very well-written book and while it is good vs. evil and takes place in a Catholic orphanage, Fracassi manages to write about this without being at all preachy. The writing is descriptive enough to transport the reader into the story without being overly wordy or drawn out. I got really attached to a couple of the characters and experienced many emotions while reading this one. I would recommend this to anyone who likes coming-of-age horror. This book is available as a hardcover limited edition at Earthling publications and I can't wait to have that copy in my horror-loving hands! Go get yourself a copy while it's still available!

  10. 4 out of 5

    Curtis

    This book shattered my theory that any novel set in the past is automatically slow paced and dull. If anything, modern-setting horror novels should get on this book's level. I know everyone and their mother has already called Fracassi a perfect mix of King and Barron, but this novel only cements the fact. This book shattered my theory that any novel set in the past is automatically slow paced and dull. If anything, modern-setting horror novels should get on this book's level. I know everyone and their mother has already called Fracassi a perfect mix of King and Barron, but this novel only cements the fact.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Brandon Carr

    I want to first acknowledge my thanks to Paul Miller from Earthling Publication for sending me this ARC. This book was a very fast paced read and reminding me a lot of Lord of the Flies. I would highly recommend giving this book a read and there are still copies available at Earthling Publication. Will for sure read more books by Philip in the future. http://www.earthlingpub.com/pf_boysin... I want to first acknowledge my thanks to Paul Miller from Earthling Publication for sending me this ARC. This book was a very fast paced read and reminding me a lot of Lord of the Flies. I would highly recommend giving this book a read and there are still copies available at Earthling Publication. Will for sure read more books by Philip in the future. http://www.earthlingpub.com/pf_boysin...

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brennan LaFaro

    Philip Fracassi’s short fiction mixes the grotesque and the beautiful in a way that defies comparison to any other authors. Though he’s released novella-length work, Boys in the Valley is Fracassi’s debut novel. Earthling Publications will release a limited edition as part of their Halloween Series, and what a great addition to the lineup this is. Part coming-of-age and part possession story, Boys in the Valley ticks a lot of boxes for what makes a great horror novel. The characters, including bu Philip Fracassi’s short fiction mixes the grotesque and the beautiful in a way that defies comparison to any other authors. Though he’s released novella-length work, Boys in the Valley is Fracassi’s debut novel. Earthling Publications will release a limited edition as part of their Halloween Series, and what a great addition to the lineup this is. Part coming-of-age and part possession story, Boys in the Valley ticks a lot of boxes for what makes a great horror novel. The characters, including but not limited to Peter, make compelling characters in their own right. Some people will tell you what makes a good horror novel is how readable the story is if the horrific elements are removed. In answer to that question, I would read 300 pages of Peter and the other boys’ time at the Catholic orphanage. Their story is compelling and the reader will find themselves quickly and deeply invested. As much as I believe in the mantra of horror being readable without the horror, the terrifying elements are not lacking here. With the advent of media like Game of Thrones, this idea that no character is safe has started pervading storytelling, but from the get-go, Fracassi establishes a story where nothing is off limits, and it never feels cheap. Numerous scenes throughout the 320 pages run will raise the hair on your arms and twist your stomach in knots. Boys in the Valley was the hundred and first book I finished in 2021, and although it’s had stiff competition, it’s my favorite of them all. Earthling’s run of the book is limited to 500 copies, so if they’re still available, I can’t recommend it highly enough. Here’s hoping Fracassi will do another print run in the future, because this is a book that demands a big readership. I received a copy from the publisher for review consideration.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Patrick Delaney

    After being introduced through Mr. Fracassi’s writing through his anthology Behold the Void, I was eager to get my hands on Beneath a Pale Sky, another collection of wonderfully dark stories. I tore through that one even faster and learned his debut was due to be published not long after. Naturally I was curious if his ability to tell a story via an entire novel would match up to what he’d done with his short stories, and I’m happy to report that he does this effortlessly in his debut, Boys in t After being introduced through Mr. Fracassi’s writing through his anthology Behold the Void, I was eager to get my hands on Beneath a Pale Sky, another collection of wonderfully dark stories. I tore through that one even faster and learned his debut was due to be published not long after. Naturally I was curious if his ability to tell a story via an entire novel would match up to what he’d done with his short stories, and I’m happy to report that he does this effortlessly in his debut, Boys in the Valley. A short disclaimer about me, but I generally tend to read books set in the modern era. I also don’t normally gravitate toward stories with religious undertones or things of that nature. I don’t know why exactly, but alas, we like what we like. Despite this fact, I didn’t hesitate in the least to pick up this book and fly through it front to back. While religion does play a part in the journey, at the heart of the story is the boys themselves. Not only is the tale about their struggle to survive everyday life in the orphanage, where there’s always a shortage of food and an abundance of violence, but also about surviving evil itself. With rich, multilayered characters and a setting as hopeless as it is dreary, Fracassi has masterfully orchestrated a tale that is both harrowing and profound.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jacqueline

    The year is 1905. The place is St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys located along a remote Pennsylvania valley. The story is of a 16 year old young man named Peter who, despite experiencing a horrific childhood trauma, has grown to become a loving role model to a dorm full of younger boys. What could possibly go wrong? Spoiler alert: A LOT. All is well until a group of men arrive on the front step of the orphanage, one of whom is wild with rage and has, what appear to be, satanic symbols carved into his The year is 1905. The place is St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys located along a remote Pennsylvania valley. The story is of a 16 year old young man named Peter who, despite experiencing a horrific childhood trauma, has grown to become a loving role model to a dorm full of younger boys. What could possibly go wrong? Spoiler alert: A LOT. All is well until a group of men arrive on the front step of the orphanage, one of whom is wild with rage and has, what appear to be, satanic symbols carved into his flesh. After a failed attempt to save the dying man, an ancient evil is released and infests the residents at the orphanage. This tale of good versus evil left me completely awestruck and wanting more with each turn of the page. While I typically steer clear of religion and gore, this story was written with such fervor that the discomfort I felt along the way was welcomed, as one should expect from any well-written horror story. Philip Fracassi’s debut novel, BOYS IN THE VALLEY, is being released by Earthling Publications in October 2021. This signed/numbered edition is limited to 500 smyth-sewn copies, all signed by Fracassi and Andy Davidson who wrote the introduction. This one won’t last long, folks. Pick up your copy today. http://www.earthlingpub.com/pf_boysin... A special thanks to Paul Miller and Earthling Publications for my review copy. Also, to Philip Fracassi for making me cringe in the best way possible.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    Boys in the Valley is a frightening tale courage and horror that takes place in an isolated orphanage in Pennsylvania. It starts off with a bang, quite literally, and really doesn't let up. Part 1 of the book gets us familiar with a number of the characters. Fracassi's writing is excellent and so atmospheric, I felt isolated and cold the whole time I was reading about this orphanage and everyone that lives there. By the time you get through part 1, you can feel that some serious darkness is abou Boys in the Valley is a frightening tale courage and horror that takes place in an isolated orphanage in Pennsylvania. It starts off with a bang, quite literally, and really doesn't let up. Part 1 of the book gets us familiar with a number of the characters. Fracassi's writing is excellent and so atmospheric, I felt isolated and cold the whole time I was reading about this orphanage and everyone that lives there. By the time you get through part 1, you can feel that some serious darkness is about to creep into this tale. Fracassi switched perspective between a few of the characters, and kept the chapters relatively short and I just flew threw each chapter NEEDING to know what would happen next. The second half of the book was full of tension and horror and much of it was cinematic. Consider me a new fan of Fracassi and I will be adding his other works to my TBR list. Shout out to Earthing Publications for putting together such a high quality release.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Janelle Janson

    A big thank you to Earthling Pub for my review copy. Full review to come, but absolutely loved it!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sean Lynch

    Philip Fracassi is having an exceptional 2021. He recently published Beneath a Pale Sky, his short story collection, and a novella entitled Commodore, which sold out pre-publication. But that isn’t the end of his exciting 2021 news! He is also publishing Boys in the Valley, his debut novel. And what a debut it is! Boys in the Valley takes you to St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys, located within a secluded Pennsylvanian valley in the early 1900s. You are introduced to the key players of the tale Philip Fracassi is having an exceptional 2021. He recently published Beneath a Pale Sky, his short story collection, and a novella entitled Commodore, which sold out pre-publication. But that isn’t the end of his exciting 2021 news! He is also publishing Boys in the Valley, his debut novel. And what a debut it is! Boys in the Valley takes you to St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys, located within a secluded Pennsylvanian valley in the early 1900s. You are introduced to the key players of the tale and get a brief glimpse into the conditions and strict routines that this orphanage adheres to. Things are then shaken up in the middle of the night when several men arrive at the orphanage. They’ve brought with them a badly wounded man covered in occult markings, seeking medical attention and salvation for the man’s soul. The man passes away, but it becomes apparent that whatever demons lurked within him have been released. Some of the boys begin acting differently and the boys find themselves taking sides in the eternal battle of good versus evil. That last sentence may sound a bit cliché, but Fracassi’s debut is nothing of the sort! Instead, Boys in the Valley masterfully combines the horrors of The Exorcist with the primal fears of Lord of the Flies. From the moment of the knock on that orphanage door to the final pages, the story sinks its teeth in and doesn’t let go. There is never a dull moment in between. Even the quieter chapters are packed with sincere character building, unrelenting dread, or sheer anticipation. When the story does erupt into high-paced action, the chaos is handled skillfully. Fracassi introduces a wide variety of characters and while many of them may not get too many details, the primary cast is certainly sufficient. At the center of the story is Peter, one of the oldest boys at the orphanage and a role model to the others. He is on his way to joining the priesthood, but is conflicted by his feelings towards the girl at the nearest farm. His chapters are presented in first-person which helps to add depth as he deals with his haunted past and struggles with the choices of his future. He may come off as a bit too “goody two-shoes” at times, but his character arc is heartfelt and satisfying. The two other characters that really shine are Father Francis and Brother Johnson. The former acts as the moral compass and mentor to Peter, while the latter is an aggressive individual serving the orphanage in lieu of a prison sentence. Francis shines in his leadership role when the orphanage descends into chaos, while Johnson has a heartbreaking past and an exquisitely beautiful character arc. Many of the orphans themselves tend to have simpler characterizations (there’s the shy one, the one with the violent past, the two that act and think like twins, etc.), but that is to be expected with such a large cast of characters. Even so, none of these less-detailed characters feel out of place and they all play their parts quite well. The first fifty pages of the novel do an excellent job with introducing all of the characters and their routines without getting boring. The man with the occult symbols on him arrives at around the fiftieth page and the story truly gets addictive from then on out. If I may break the fourth wall here, I personally could not put the title down. I consider myself a casual reader in terms of my reading speed; I may finish a book within a week or two. Such was not the case with this title, which I sped through in less than three days. And even then, it only took me three days because a holiday and a workday got in my way! Philip Fracassi’s short stories always left me wanting more. Nearly each story in Beneath a Pale Sky gave me a glimpse into worlds that I wanted to visit. I’m thankful to say that Boys in the Valley allowed to me have a full-length journey into one of Fracassi’s worlds and it was a far more satisfying story than I could have imagined. This is a triumph of a debut novel and I can’t wait to see what Philip Fracassi publishes next! Boys in the Valley is being published on Halloween of 2021 via Earthling Publications. Copies of the signed limited edition are still available, though they may not last long once people begin to experience the novel for themselves. This limited edition is the only available copy of the novel for the time being, though you may want to follow Philip Fracassi (https://pfracassi.com/) for future trade editions or further publications. Thank you very much to Paul Miller at Earthling Publications for the Advance Uncorrected Proof of the title. I promised a fair and honest review of the title and my words are completely sincere. Ahlborn’s Dark Across the Bay was a very good title that I finished in a little over a week, but Fracassi’s Boys in the Valley was a phenomenal title that I finished in two marathon sittings because I could not put it down! I cannot wait to get my hands on the limited edition!

  18. 4 out of 5

    Matthew

  19. 5 out of 5

    EBL BOOKS

  20. 5 out of 5

    Dean

  21. 5 out of 5

    Mitch Hull

  22. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Lees

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joey

  24. 4 out of 5

    Anchorpete

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

  26. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Mann

  27. 4 out of 5

    José Ángel de Dios

  28. 5 out of 5

    Shelby

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jesse

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rissa (rissasreading)

  31. 4 out of 5

    Mia

  32. 5 out of 5

    Philip Fracassi

  33. 4 out of 5

    Becs

  34. 4 out of 5

    Erikdmann

  35. 5 out of 5

    Joe Radkins

  36. 4 out of 5

    David Ward

  37. 4 out of 5

    Amber

  38. 4 out of 5

    Anna Liandi

  39. 5 out of 5

    Zach Low

  40. 5 out of 5

    Will

  41. 5 out of 5

    Matthew Evans

  42. 4 out of 5

    Butts Carlton

  43. 4 out of 5

    Iffat Arzuman

  44. 4 out of 5

    Miriam

  45. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  46. 4 out of 5

    Mahalia Sluiter

  47. 4 out of 5

    Kevin L

  48. 5 out of 5

    Kate

  49. 5 out of 5

    Emilio DESOUSA

  50. 4 out of 5

    Osvaldo

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...