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Review - The Year of the Storm

The Year of the Storm John Mantooth

In this haunting, suspenseful novel, John Mantooth takes readers to a town in rural Alabama where secrets are buried deep, reality is relative, and salvation requires a desperate act of faith.

When Danny was fourteen, his mother and sister disappeared during a violent storm. The police were baffled. There were no clues, and most people figured they were dead. Only Danny still holds out hope that they’ll return.

Months later, a disheveled Vietnam vet named Walter Pike shows up at Danny’s front door, claiming to know their whereabouts. The story he tells is so incredible that Danny knows he shouldn’t believe him. Others warn him about Walter Pike’s dark past, his shameful flight from town years ago, and the suspicious timing of his return.

But he’s Danny’s last hope, and Danny needs to believe…


In The Year of the Storm, the reader is whisked off to a small town in Alabama. It has some strange history with deeply buried secrets. Danny’s mom and sister disappeared during a storm. They headed off into the woods and were never seen again. No clues, no nothing about their disappearance. Everyone else has pretty much given up on ever finding them, but not Danny. We follow along as Danny searches for and uncovers anything he can that might help him bring them back. When Walter enters the picture, things take a wild turn and with some risk Danny might just find his answers.

I enjoyed reading this and felt it was beautifully, yet hauntingly written. The suspense sticks around from beginning to end, leaving you wondering what is around the next corner. As the many layers are stripped away, we start to get glimpses of what is really going on and not all of it is good. The story bounces between two timelines, which I think was so important for this story to play out the way it did. You get some of the history and how certain things came to be and you also get the current situation. All of this worked so well together and delivered a tight story.

The characters were well done and believable. My favorites being Danny and Walter. It was great watching their relationship form. I had doubts about Walter at first but was surprised at how everything played out with him. There were also some characters that were evil. I won’t go into much detail on them, so I don’t spoil anything. I felt their vileness brought another layer to the story showing just how insensitive people can be and how they can also be dealt with.

Overall, I felt this was a great read. Lots of suspense and mystery surrounding the modest town with small bits of supernatural elements. The determination shown by Danny was amazing; there is some heartbreak but also some warmer moments too. Definitely worth a read! Mantooth’s writing grips you from the start and carries you to the very end.


About the Author

JOHN MANTOOTH is the award winning author of two novels and a short story collection. His first novel, The Year of the Storm, was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award. He has also published three crime novels under the pseudonym Hank Early. Heaven’s Crooked Finger (written as Hank Early) was a Next Generation Indie Book award winner and 2017 Foreword Indies Award Finalist. He lives in Alabama with his wife and two children.

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