Cover Image: Old Country

Old Country

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Member Reviews

Harry, a former marine, and his wife Sasha move to their dream property—a remote piece of land with no neighbors in sight. Shortly after moving in, they meet the couple closest to them and learn the horrifying reality that awaits them in this seemingly idyllic valley. Together, they fight to survive.

1️⃣ I was thoroughly entertained by this book. I wasn’t entirely sure about it for the first few chapters, but then I zoomed through it, needing to know what was coming next. 

2️⃣ Nature and the land are key to the eeriness of this book. It reminded me a bit of Wonderland by Zoje Stage.

3️⃣ I was rarely on board with the character’s emotional progressions —it felt like their reactions were often too shallow for the magnitude of the events they were experiencing.

 4️⃣ There were a few threads that I expected to lead to more. The ending arrived much more quickly than I was ready for.

5️⃣ Regardless of any of my criticisms, I really enjoyed the book. The authors draw you into the story, dropping just enough hints to keep you pushing forward to the next chapter. If you’re looking for a creepy, nature-focused horror story, check this out!
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Lots of potential here, but it needs work. 

A 'Reddit sensation' that likely began on r/nosleep, the novelization still maintains too much evidence of being a serial that should have been smoothed over with editing. Factoids and references are repeated unnecessarily, and the beginning in particular is bloated with filler - hikes, hunting, farm work - that feels like it's meant to set up an idyllic life before it all comes crashing down with the spirit haunting, but it's all too detailed and too much. Writers on r/nosleep fall into this trap of providing too much information to make their story seem 'real' and this is fully on display here. 

Not to mention (okay, I'm mentioning it) the overly detailed descriptions of firearms, hunting, and fishing that are completely unnecessary. From the bios, these are all interests of one of the authors, and it shows - a bit too obviously. While a horror buff, I am not a fan of firearms or hunting, and I feel that the gratuitous descriptions will do more to alienate readers than draw them in. A fetish for guns isn't a replacement for a personality. 

Which brings me to Harry, whose main personality traits are anger management issues and... lying to the VA therapist? He's extremely unlikable and it's hard to tell what Sasha saw/sees in him. If my date had flipped out and killed a raccoon in front of me, there wouldn't be a follow-up date. Perhaps it's that he's meant to be humbled and change and grow by the events of the story (as evidenced by Joe and the denouement of the haunting) but it's hard to root for him when his default state is violence.

Despite the dual POV, we learn far more about Harry than we do about Sasha, whose sole role seems to be Harry's support system; he's more of a fleshed-out character with a backstory and issues whereas she falls into the trap too often set for women - caretaker, supporter, <I>wife</I>. It's blindingly obvious that the book was written by men, and in my opinion could use a female editor's eye. 

But! The potential! Once the haunting got going, it truly was creepy. The seasons are quite creative, and the spirit's manifestations unsettling. The authors did a great job setting the scene and creating a creeping sense of claustrophobia and helplessness. I wanted more of that and less of Harry's "white dude in a horror movie" schtick of not following the rules and getting everyone around him into trouble. I think horror buffs who don't mind an unlikeable protagonist will still enjoy this book.
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This one was a creepy read! I read the whole creepypasta short story it was based on in a Reddit post a few years back, so some of the info was still fresh in my mind. For those of you that have already read the short story, this version adds alot more background into the main characters and neighbors. But I feel like in order to get the scariest read from this, I would go in blind and not knowing what to expect. This book will be chilling even for an experienced horror reader!
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What a uniquely creepy story!  Harry and Sasha, have packed up and moved to the most ruralist area of the mountains of Idaho.  They have left urban living to be become self sufficient on 40 acres of land.

It's not long before their nearest neighbors come to warn them of an angry spirit in the area and what needs to be done to keep it happy.  Harry and Sasha react with disbelief but soon learn that there are real spirits in the area and they are not to be taken lightly.

Totally creepy, totally unique. If you love a scary story, then Old Country is for you!
That is, until their nearest neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, #GrandCentralPublishing #NetGalley #NetGalleyReads #OldCountry #MattQuery
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I wanted to love this one, I really did. The description sounded super creepy and right up my proverbial alley. Unfortunately, it just feel really flat for me. 

Don’t get me wrong, there’s some really creepy moments, and a couple cool set pieces, but there just wasn’t enough for me to get invested. Either in the story of the spirit haunting the land, or the main couple, and because there’s so little backstory on the spirit, the stakes never feel all that high until the last 100 pages or so.

With more detail, and cutting the length down a little this could be a really tight, creepy little thriller. Unfortunately it goes on for at least 50 pages too long, and the characters are all paper thin.

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"Based on the Reddit sensation, a horror thriller of a young couple who buys the perfect, secluded house - only to discover the terror within.

It's the house of their dreams. Former marine Harry and his wife, Sasha, have packed up their life and their golden retriever, Dash, and fled the corporate rat race to live off the land in rural Idaho. Their breathtaking new home sits on more than forty acres of meadow, aspen trees, and pine forest in the Teton Valley. Even if their friends and family think it’s a strange choice for an up-and-coming pair of urban professionals, Harry and Sasha couldn’t be happier about the future they’re building, all by their lonesome.

That is, until their nearest neighbors, Dan and Lucy Steiner, come bearing more than housewarming gifts. Dan and Lucy warn Harry and Sasha of a malevolent spirit that lives in the valley, one that with every season will haunt them in fresh, ever-more-diabolical ways. At first, it seems like an old wives' tale. But when spring arrives, so does the first evil manifestation, challenging everything Harry and Sasha thought they knew about the world.

As each season passes, the spirit grows stronger, the land more sinister, and each encounter more dangerous. Will Harry and Sasha learn the true meaning of a forever home before it’s too late? Haunting and bone-chilling, Old Country is a spellbinding debut in the horror genre."

Never knock stories that start out non-traditionally, I've spent many a sleepless night due to horror stories on Twitter and Reddit, and I'm not talking about the news thank you very much.
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I thought this story was unique and had some legitimately spooky scenes in it. The book is set near where I live and was pretty on the nose as far as description goes. 

The few scary scenes were intense and had me on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen. 

The two main problems I had with this book were: the two main characters had nearly indistinguishable voices and it was just TOO DANG LONG! Honestly, so much of this book could have been cut out. It completely ruined the suspense they were trying to set up by talking about the hiking and planting and fencing and horseback riding the characters were doing. A suspenseful theme would be introduced, but then it would be a chapter or two before anything came of it. It really threw the pacing off. 

Do I think there will be people out there who will love this book? Absolutely. I’m just not necessarily one of them. 

I received this eARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a hard novel to review, because some parts are so good, so creepy, and deeply unsettling but others I didn’t like at all. It is also dedicated to dogs, which made me want to like it immediately. Unfortunately, I didn’t really enjoy it in the end. Harry is a combat veteran and he and his wife Sasha move to rural Idaho, to a lovely property where weird things happen. That was my favorite part, all the manifestations and how they deal with them. Some parts were truly terrifying. The rest was details, a million tiny useless details and dialogues that didn’t sound organic at all. I live in rural Idaho and can’t say that I’ve heard anyone say “y’all” or “aint” in… well, ever. We don’t really need explanations as to how the characters fix a field fence or fish or split wood. All the details about how Sasha tracks the former owners of their property don’t add anything. This could have been a great novella but, as it is, it feels bloated and full of filler. I loved Dash, the dog though. 
I chose to read this book and all opinions in this review are my own and completely unbiased. Thank you, #NetGalley/#Grand Central Publishing!
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Hello, actually scary book here!!!

Okay, so being perfectlly honest here – if I was going to nitpick, I’d take of half a star for some of the long (super long, eternally long, way too many of ‘em) flashbacks to Harry’s war experiences.  I mean, they’re completely necessary to the plot – maybe just not so many?  But, and I guess it’s really an all caps BUT, the story is so well done that they become just a minor thing.

This one was actually scary.  Like chills and eeriness and Holy Crap those scarecrows!!!!  

The weirdness is divided into seasons and they start kind of odd and eerie and eventually end in NOPE!

Loved this!  Read it at night when you’re alone and every little noise is going to make you jump.

Excellent read!

*ARC via Net Galley
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I was not really sure what I was actually getting into when I started to read "Old County" by Matt Query and Harrison Query, but I quickly found out that it was pretty explosive!  What started out as a nice scenic locale to live quickly turns into a huge horror scene. Although some of the scenarios stretch the imagination, its characters are so well written, that you end up accepting these unlikely occurrences. The pace of the book is great throughout and not all of the action occurs at the end.. I would consider this one of the best and most unique horror stories I have read in some time. I will eagerly await more novels from these brothers.
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and Matt and Harrison Query for providing me with a complimentary digital ARC for Old Country, coming out July 26, 2022.  The honest opinions expressed in this review are my own. 

Couple Harry and Sasha have moved into the house of their dreams in rural Idaho in the Teton Valley. As a former Marine, Harry is dealing with some PTSD. They also have a golden retriever named Dash. 

Their nearest neighbors are Dan and Lucy Steiner who warn them of an angry spirit that lives in the valley. The book is told in parts with each part being a different season. And every season will haunt them in more ways. The first manifestation of evil appears in the spring with lights on the lake. Dan tells them to light a fire when it happens and they’ll be safe, but will they?

It was a little slow to get into this book. I appreciated the backstory of Harry being a former Marine. He’s a tough man who knows how to protect people. He knows how to use a gun. However, he does have some anger issues to work out. His wife Sasha is very patient and loving. She’s understanding of his troubles. They want to build a good life together. 

The story is told from Harry and Sasha’s point of views. I’m really glad it had both of their views. I thought it really helped to see into their minds and get their perspective on what was going on. I think Sasha acted as a foil for Harry. She was understanding and patient of his trauma and yet strong in her own way. She pushed him when she had to and they worked together well. 

I loved the different seasons bring more terror aspect. Autumn was frightening and I didn’t like it. Poor Dan! That part really made me tear up. I love that Harry is trying to figure out how to beat it, but so sad. It was a rough season. 

Winter was also a rough season. I don’t think any person who’s been through combat wants to go through that. I also really loved Joe’s character and would’ve liked to see a little more of him. Native American culture has always interested me and I love to see their stories being told. 

Overall, I really loved this book! I think the story was very well-written and suspenseful. I enjoyed the idea of each season bringing something worse and more sinister. It had a poignant message about trauma and loss. It was also very terrifying in some parts. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys psychological thrillers and horror novels about human nature.
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Old Country is an enthralling debut.
These two Authors put together a very intriguing, interesting story. 
The riveting suspense had me losing track of time. I love how a book can keep you alert and completely lost in the story. My mind was spinning with thoughts.
I knew from the first chapters that I was going to enjoy this twisted journey.
This superbly written thriller delivers edge of your seat thrills and suspense, that had me hooked immediately.
Overall, this book was tons of fun. And I look forward to reading more in the future. 

“I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.” 

Grand Central Publishing,
Thank You for your generosity and gifting me a copy of this amazing eARC!
I will post my review to my platforms, blog, B&N and Waterstone closer to pub date.
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Old Country by Matt and Harrison Query is a horror thriller that tackles a lot of other issues--including  PTSD. 
As a horror thriller it works rather well-- the writing and characterization are decent and the overall story is engaging.
I think the book overall could have used another rewrite and I only say that because it was obvious at times that it had been serialized. (Character restating names and events to remind the reader work okay in serialized fiction but not so well in a novel.)
Thanks to #Netgalley, #GrandCentralPublishing and the authors for the ARC of #OldCountry.
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Old Country by Matt & Harrison Query 04/27/22
This book hits all the marks if you appreciate a good horror story. Set in the west on the Idaho side of the Teton Mountains, you experience all the seasons the mountain country has to offer, with a twist. A force older than the land itself also holds residence in the area, and if you hope to keep it at bay you must adhere to the rituals handed down over time. The characters are relatable and the pace is fast and suspenseful. This is definitely in the top three of new horror for 2022.
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AGAIN, A BOOK THAT COULD HAVE BEEN SO SO GOOD.  I haven't checked, but I'm 90% sure this started as a reddit story, probably on r/nosleep.  What happens is someone writes a story, maybe even a multi-part story, and it's very good, so people tell the author, "You need to make this into a book!"  And they do.  And it's not nearly as good because they have to fill all those pages.  So much of this book feels like filler interspersed with genuinely creepy parts.  The bear thing?  Incredibly creative.  But so much of the book was just the couple drinking on the porch.  The couple going on hikes.  Something will happen that takes five minutes and the author will say that they then talked about it "for a couple of hours" and then go on a picnic to talk some more.  

And can I just say the the protagonist, Harry, is incredibly problematic?  You have trauma from being a soldier, and that is something I can never completely understand.  But get some therapy, dude. Oh wait! The VA requires it and he just straight up lies to the therapist and it's never brought up again.  There is so much talk of who he killed, the situations of the killing, an absolute fetish for guns, and Harry has serious emotional problems.  At one point, a raccoon startles his fiancee, and that just made Harry so protective that he grabs the racoon and throws it, killing it.  Does that seem ok, especially for a man who wants to have children?!  He is kind to Sasha, but she talks about how she has to calm him down, and he is often outraged at other people. And Sasha just puts up with everything.  She absolutely loves being social, but moves to an incredibly remote location.  She has an important remote job, yet goes for hikes, picnics, horseback rides, etc. all day.  She swears multiple times that she's going to figure out what's going on, but that mostly consists of her asking a couple people what they know.  You expect her to look up land deeds on other plots around them, go to the state historical society, look into indigenous culture, look up folklore.  No.  Worst researcher ever.

Harry was injured in the way.  There is a long justification from Sasha about his disability pension, which is unnecessary because I don't think anyone begrudges a man who was blown up a disability pension - they describe his injuries and basically, every single bone in his body was broken.  I'm talking like 30 bones.  I actually know a man who went through this, had his spine permanently damaged, and is on  80% disability and in near constant pain, yet still has to check in with the VA, get pain meds, etc.. Guess what?  Harry has to do none of this.  The disability only comes up because that's how they pay their mortgage.  Also, Harry is able to do so much manual labor.  His disability never comes in to play at all.  He is literally turning this land into a homestead and digging ditches, gardening, hauling brush, etc.  At one point, he is injured and they talk about his broken ribs and sternum and collarbone and he's having trouble breathing, but then pushes a tunnel through literal rubble and seems mostly ok.

Also, a note to authors:  STOP WITH THE ABBREVIATED NAMES.  When you write a conversation, have that conversation, out loud, with another living person.  How often do you really say the other person's name when you are talking one-on-one?  If you know someone named Harry, how often do you call them "Har" (do you say that 'hair'??)?  Sasha is "Sash."  I'm pretty just "Lucy" is "Lu."  My husband has literally never called me "Ash."  I have literally never called my friend Brittany "Britt."  Unless the person specifically requests it, you don't do that.  It's unnatural.  I'm also going to go out on a limb and say that neighbors don't ask ex-soldiers "who they've killed" and what's stranger, is that Harry is almost bragging, tell his neighbor, "Go ahead and ask.  I know you want to."  WHO WANTS TO HEAR THAT??  And it's not the first, or last time, you'll hear about who he has killed and how.

So to sum it up, Harry sucks so much.  Nearly every bad thing that happens is his fault.  He is unhinged and unlikeable.  Sasha enables him.  I'm giving this 2.5 stars, rounded up to 3, because I did finish it, I was curious about the ending (which was not worth it), and because there were some creepy parts that make me think the authors probably wrote incredibly unique stories, but should have kept it a collection of stories or a novella.
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Extremely scary! This would make a terrifying film or series. As a book, it fell short for me, as I never warmed up to any of the characters (some underdeveloped, others just difficult to like). But I definitely kept turning those pages. 

Many thanks to the authors, publisher, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review.
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Harry and Sasha have left city life behind for a quiet life in Idaho, where they’ve found a gorgeous home surrounded by acres of pastoral fields and forests. Everything is looking up until the couple (and their dog) meet their neighbors, Lucy and Dan, who delight in telling Harry and Sasha all about the stories of a spirit who will torment them in new and ever more terrible ways with each passing season. The couple passes the story off as a local superstition, and during that first winter, it seems they are right. But the arrival of spring brings more than new life, it brings terror beyond their imagining, and the horror only increases as the seasons pass. Query is a promising new voice in horror, I recommend you read this in the daytime, with another person around
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Shivering, screaming, absolutely being scared the living daylights out of me as my entire little hairs just stood up: that’s how I felt after reading this thrilling, wild, intense novel! I cannot shut my mouth! I think I hurt my vocal cords! I cannot stop screaming! This book is everything a horror fan can dream of! 

  A married couple in early thirties, Harry and Sasha are the main characters and narrators of the story. Harry- veteran marine who fought in Afghanistan, early discharged to go to college where he met his wife Sasha who kept him sane, helping him to get through his self destructive stages. Now they decide to make a fresh start by owning a new house in Teton Valley, Idaho, little thousand-square-foot house on fifty-five cattle-fenced acres. On top of that, the neighbor to the north and east was a national
forest several times the size of Rhode Island.

  Only one more family resides in the neighborhood which gives them enough opportunity to have their own peaceful,secluded place! 

  They move to their brand new place accompanied their dog: Dash who is part of their family, meeting with their older neighbors Lucy and Dan who seem like nice people! But everything changes when their nice neighbors decide to tell them the rules of surviving in their new environment! 
 As soon as Harry listens to what Dan tried to talk him into, he starts screaming and kicking them out of his property! Because they insist there's some kind of spirit that lives in the valley and that it takes a new form every season. It does one thing in the spring, then another in the summer. There are written rituals they have to obey for getting rid of the harm of the spirits!

  Sasha, raised by hippy parents who are weed sellers, mostly raised herself, never taking any financial support from them, is more open minded to the existence of spiritual entities and she already feel connected to Lucy so she thinks otherwise, giving a try to those rituals. 

As the spirits start appearing like their neighbors have told, first reluctantly and then obediently they start applying those rituals but when summer time: a spirit of naked man chasing by a bear keeps appearing at the backyard, things get escalated and this is just the beginning!

  There are so many jaw dropping, freaking scary things start happening and as the mysteries keep unfolding like the story of the family who was living at their home before them and Joe: the mysterious landowner who knows the answers to deal with the spirits, you keep asking yourself how far things go from here, how things get more escalated to give you nightmares! 

I can personally advise you to lock your doors, check out the windows, meditating for hours, and then hide under a blanket to resume your reading because the last parts of the book will truly shake you to the core and make you forget your own name! Be prepared to scream nonstop! 

  I highly definitely absolutely extremely recommend it to true horror lovers!

  Special thanks to NetGalley and Grand Central Publishing for sharing this amazing digital reviewer copy with me in exchange my honest thoughts.
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