Kind Nepenthe

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Pub Date 27 Jul 2017 | Archive Date 28 Sep 2017


Rebecca thought she’d find a hippie paradise when she moved to the desolate back hills of Humboldt County. A place to commune with nature and teach her five-year-old daughter how to live off the land. Instead she discovered a nightmare.

Coyote is a washed-up pot grower. Strung out on pills and dealing with dropping prices and looming legalization, he wonders if it’s even worth it anymore.

Diesel Dan abandoned his son for a life of methamphetamine and prison. Now he wants to make amends. He’s going to be a grandfather. But his son is on the same dark road of drugs and violence that once consumed him.

These characters will come together in an explosive ending that will leave you stunned and breathless. But more than just a gripping horror novel, Kind Nepenthe is a deep examination into the nature of love and greed, lost ideals, and the essence of evil in one of the last frontiers of the American West.

Rebecca thought she’d find a hippie paradise when she moved to the desolate back hills of Humboldt County. A place to commune with nature and teach her five-year-old daughter how to live off the...

Advance Praise

“Thoroughly suspenseful and haunting.” –Kirkus Review

“Dripping with evil . . .” —Mark Spencer award-winning author of Ghost Walking and A Haunted Love Story

"Matthew V. Brockmeyer's debut is country noir at its finest. In Brockmeyer, Stephen King fans may have finally found a new favorite author in this haunting novel." —Best Thrillers

"This story has twists and turns that will be a true pulling factor for thriller readers everywhere. With a building suspense, this novel gets darker and darker as the pages turn. 4 out of 4 stars." —Online Book Club

"Matthew V. Brockmeyer's debut novel looks at life through an alternative lifestyle lens and has accomplished an ultramodern horror thriller that has something for everyone. Fantastic read and one that is highly recommended. This is a definite five out of five read." —Media Bitch

"Mesmerizing." —Horror News

“Thoroughly suspenseful and haunting.” –Kirkus Review

“Dripping with evil . . .” —Mark Spencer award-winning author of Ghost Walking and A Haunted Love Story

"Matthew V. Brockmeyer's debut is country...

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Featured Reviews

An excellent read. I couldn't put it down from beginning to end. Highly recommended

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This was a book that gets into your head and stays there. I have never read a book quite like this before.

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by Matthew V. Brockmeyer

Beautifully scenic, but humanity renders it depressing: Southern Humboldt County in Northern California. KIND NEPENTHE is a literate horror novel (I loved the epigrams the author's chosen), but I prefer to categorize it as Northern California drug culture noir. Populated by an almost completely sorry cast of lowlifes, KIND NEPENTHE only allows some to surface briefly, to try to be “somebody” with purpose, and then submerges them again. Rebecca wants to be completely organic, and be a sterling mother. Calendula (Mark) is a permaculture designer, or so he hopes. Diesel wants a second chance through his soon-to-be born grandchild, not to mess up as he did with his son and his wife. Actually, the only “winners” in this patch of noir are the hauntings...and we're never really certain what their foundation is, although we see it acted out in certain formerly living individuals. Mr. Brockmeyer does a sort of Henry James-ish horror, the kind that you know is present, but too shadowy and unspecific to get really frightened...until the end, when literally everything and everybody goes raving insane in a fast-paced few pages rolling like a bullet train.

{On a personal note, while I read KIND NEPENTHE, I also commenced another drug culture noir, this one set in New Mexico. Life imitates art.}

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Kind Nepenthe is more of a ghost story than an actual horror. It starts slowly revealing its characters and builds to an ending that is brilliantly written.

Thanks to Netgalley for my copy.

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"Do you ever
miss yourself
in the middle of the mess
a lifetime can become?"
- by Ominous

"Rebecca thought she'd find a hippie paradise when she moved to the desolate back hills of Humboldt County. A place to commune with nature and teach her five-year-old daughter how to live off the land. Instead, she discovered a nightmare..."
Rebecca just has to hold out a few more weeks until they get paid. She, her daughter, Megan and boyfriend, Calendula want to make a new life for themselves. Buy a piece of land to call their own, start a new life, but unforeseen troubles make its appearance and soon everything spirals out of control.

"Coyote is a washed-up pot grower. Strung out on pills and dealing with dropping prices and looming legalization, he wonders if it's even worth it anymore..."
A greedy weed grower that only looks out for himself. But greediness comes with a price.

"Diesel Dan abandoned his son for a life of methamphetamine and prison. Now he wants to make amends. He's going to be a grandfather. But his son is on the same dark road of drugs and violence that once consumed him..."
Like father, like son. Diesel wanting to make amends with his son seems to be the hardest part of this character's story. Not only will he be a grandfather soon, but it feels like he has to fight his own demons every step of the way to show his son he can be a good father. Will his son feel the same at the end?

These characters will come together in an explosive ending that will leave you stunned and breathless. But more than just a gripping horror novel, Kind Nepenthe is a deep examination into the nature of love and greed, lost ideals, and the essence of evil in one of the last frontiers of the American West.
They soon realize they are not alone....

I must say....

THIS WAS ONE HELL OF A STORY! I was hooked from the first page! What a great novel this was.

Novel: Kind Nepenthe
Author: Matthew V Brockmeyer
Genre: Horror
Review Rating: 4 1/2 Stars
Cover: 9/10
Characters, interaction, and plot layout: 5/5
Publication Date: 27 July 2017
Do I recommend this: Highly!
Would I buy this book for myself or a friend: Yes

I highly recommend this novel for all horror readers.

**********Thank you to Netgalley and author Matthew V. Brockmeyer for providing me with an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.**********

Would definitely read more of this author's work in the future.

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This book started off really promising and chilling.However,I don't know if I'd consider it a horror.I think I would have liked more ghosts!In the end I gave it 3 stars.The ending is exciting,but I never really got much emotional attachment to the characters and found it a bit depressing.

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Rebecca is a mother with a passion for an organic lifestyle. She works at a grow house with her boyfriend Calendula hoping to make enough money to buy their own property and live off the land.
Megan her five-year-old daughter has changed since they moved. Her behaviour has become strange and she tells dark but gifted stories. Soon Megan will have more to worry about than just her little girls behaviour.
The medley of characters in this book includes Coyote, Diesel Dan, DJ his son and a few ghosts. They combine to combine to do bad things to each other in ways you wont imagine.
I thought the grow house setting was a good idea although I was a little over the whole marijuana thing before reaching the half way mark. Wouldnt living and/or working in an environment like this end up making you nuts?
The ending was a huge scene-stealer for me and well worth the wait. If you enjoy a horror thriller with a bit of a difference then this is the book for you.

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“Quaff, oh quaff, this kind nepenthe and forget that lost Lenore.” - from THE RAVEN by Edgar Allan Poe

Just imagine this, if you will. You cross WINTER'S BONE with THE SHINING and what do you get? You get a hard-to-categorize pitch black creation that can probably play Dueling Banjos really well.

This book is beyond dark. You can feel it sucking you in like a desperate, greedy lungs-full inhale on a meth pipe and it just keeps pulling and pulling. You know you need to escape its clutches but it's irresistible so you keep on reading and trying to catch your breath and you're getting pulled further and further in and down.

This noir tale takes place in the backcountry of Humboldt County, California and is full of drugs, self deception, more drugs and oh, yeah...ghosts.

Don't read this until you're in the right mood - down and dreary - because then it will be a short trip to reach that spot by the end of the book. It's really brilliantly written but this defines dark in all new ways.

I received this book from Black Rose Writing through Net Galley in exchange for my unbiased review.

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This is an amazing book. The writing is astonishingly good. I'm not usually a huge fan of modern horror and I fully intend to keep my eyes out for other work by this author. The story arc ratchets up the tension from the beginning and it just keeps getting more and more creepy (and scary) .... the ending had me turning the lights on because reading in the dark was too darned much for me.

Even though the characters were not particularly likeable, they were all understandable and sympathetic to a degree. I really found myself rooting for Rebecca and her small family. I even found myself hoping things would go well for Diesel, which is saying something considering I'm about as diametrically opposed to his character as it's possible to be and still be human.

People who already really enjoy horror will find more than enough to satisfy here... people who enjoy noir will most likely enjoy this book as well... the people who enjoy literary/dystopian fiction will almost certainly be in raptures of delight. A really well crafted enjoyable(?) creepy read. Any fans who entered the room through the Joe Hill/Clive Barker/Stephen King door, enjoy this new source of horror from a new author who can stand up there with the masters.

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Pot growers, meth-heads and a few ghosts are what you will encounter in KIND NEPENTHE. You will also find interesting, well-drawn characters and suspense that builds as you turn the pages. But don't expect much redemption; this is a very dark book. Very, very creepy ... and sad. I would have liked more backstory on the ghosts and exactly why they behaving the way they were but this was still a fine effort (and you will learn everything you ever wanted to know about starting your own grow-house). Brockmeyer is well on his way to being one of the masters of horror..

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I received an advanced copy of Kind Nepenthe from NetGalley in exchange for an honest and fair review....

Kind Nepenthe is an atmospheric, paranormal, spooky little story. Although it isn't extremely long, it still packs a punch. The hill of Humboldt County have a long, blood history. After many years and many lives lost, something paranormal lurks on these lands. Despite the ghostly history, the land is still actively used to grow the devil's lettuce. While trying to earn enough cash to start their own dream of living off the land, things slowly begin to change. Rebecca becomes extremely aware of the changes in the land and even those she loves. While Rebecca and Calendula are main characters, they are hardly the whole story. We get into business with a father-son meth heads duo and a few other ghastly folks.

While the topic of marijuana is certainly dealt with, it hardly is preachy or politically motivated. The reason I mention this because I don't want non-users or anti individuals to be dissuaded or turned off by the topic. It was rather interesting to hear how they handled mass production of the plant. Again, this is just to ensure those who are weary to try the book that MJ is hardly the star of the show.

Brockmeyer created some scenes that will not be leaving me for a while. There are two points in particular that have left a mark in my mind. These scenes also really re-enforced the horror point of the story for me.

Minor spoiler:

At one point, the water stops flowing at the house on the hill. Calendula is tasked with handling the situation. He finds a line where there must be a clog. In order to address the blockade, he tries to suck the item through. While it doesn't sound that interesting now, the timing and situation was incredibly presented. We don't know what it could be, I just know, that I don't want it to be a body. The description of what happens after he discovers what it was had me feeling just like Calendula. I was just as disgusted and nearly gagging along with him. This moment in the story was such a mood setter, I couldn't stop there.

Second scene that stole the show for me: When Rebecca finds Calendula talking to an inanimate object. This scene was AMAZING. It was incredibly written and had me creeped the heck out. This point in the story was a home run for me. It set the horror tone in a way other scary stories simply could not.

Overall, this book had such a paranormal, evil thing going on. It reminded just a touch of The Shining. The setting created a wonderful setting for horror. And the characters were horrors all in themselves.

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The book wasn't for me as I found myself forgetting the story plot as it just didn't stick with me.

The characters were written well

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Wow what a suspenseful, thrilling book. The author was able to weave in the plot, characters, and mystery to create a heightening effect. Would recommend!

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Kind Nepenthe was like a train wreck you could not look away from. You don't want to look, you know it's going to be bad, but you can't NOT look. All of the characters are unlikable. I had sympathy at first but they truly are the gatekeepers of their own hells. Humanity is lost here and I think that's the most terrifying part of the story, that all of these characters could be walking around in "real life" devoid of morals, empathy, sobriety. This was not a fun read, but Brockmeyer can spin a tale and I was hooked from the start. If you're looking for character redemption or a happy ending look elsewhere. But disappointed in the story you will not be.

Thank you NetGalley, Black Rose Publishing, and Matthew Brockmeyer for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

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I am always keeping an eye out for good horror stories, normally i am left a little disappointed in the scare factor and let down by reviews that say how terrifying the book is.
But this book was NOT a let down at all.
I loved it and i could quite happily read it again straight away!
You've got meth heads, pot growers, thieves, and plenty of murder all to be had in the atmospheric backdrop of Humbolt County as well as ghosts! but It's the human horrors that take your breath away!
Rebecca and her daughter Megan are living out in the middle of nowhere with her boyfriend Calendula on a Marijuana grow plantation. If they can make it through this season, they will buy land and make build an organic farm to live off the land. That is the reason they stay, but is it worth it?
The other people in this story are. Drug addicts, women beaters and evil ghosts that continue to cause trouble. Certainly no characters you like no matter how much you read!
This is no feel good story with a happy ending, but a brutal, horror story
A must for an horror fans :-)

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How I dream of joining a commune and living the bohemian life.... but this thriller has made me somehow change my mind.

Paranoia. distrust and some kind of horror is portrayed in kind Nepenthe.

nepenthe is ...a drug described in Homer's Odyssey as banishing grief or trouble from a person's mind.
so this gives some idea as to the trend of the novel and it's very well written.
it is an interesting and disturbing read.

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This is a promising and wonderfully atmospheric horror read.

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Kind Nepenthe is one of those books I looked at on NetGalley for a while but couldn't bring myself to request for the longest time. It just didn't seem like something I'd over enjoy, honestly. If you frequent NetGalley though, you'll notice the horror section of their available titles has been dwindling over the past few months. As a result, I finally ended up with Matthew V. Brockmeyer's title and I can admit I am pleasantly surprised.

Aside from a single graphically sexual scene, Kind Nepenthe plays the horror genre safely. Brockmeyer keeps things significantly more tame than many of the authors I read, which means he's got to make up for it in other places. In this case, the story itself is rather well developed - even if it does have a few holes. (Seriously, how'd the boy die, dude? You got ghosts you ain't tellin' us the deets on.) A few of the characters, or rather most of them, are almost offensively stereotypical. Diesel, one of the main characters, has a son who quite literally dresses like the photo you've seen of a kid wanting to look gangsta.

Now, I'm aware this sounds mostly negative, but in a way it allowed me to better formulate the type of behaviors associated with Brockmeyer's cast. It's not very complex, so for me to have read this book in two days means that Brockmeyer must have succeeded elsewhere in his work - and he did! The flow of Kind Nepenthe can be likened to the river that runs through Homicide Hill. It's a constant, rolling movement from one even to another. Not hurried, but steady.

There are two separate stories that take place here and four different endings. Despite its lack of originality in characters, Kind Nepenthe manages to wiggle its way into the reader's sympathies. I felt for Katie, the young, pregnant girlfriend of Diesel's son. My heart ached for Rebecca, whose loneliness begins to eat at her as the story progresses. Even Diesel managed to find an endearing resonance with me, much to my surprise.

While I was hoping for a little bit more boo! than I received, I look forward to more of Brockmeyer's work in the future. This book was a nice, relaxing read and I simply was not able to put it down. I'd like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy of this book for the purpose of review.

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Kind Nepenthe may have one of the most interesting settings of any recent novel of the supernatural. It is placed in the Humboldt County marijuana fields where matrijuana farming is sill a questionable occupation that is uncomfortably shared by the outcasts and the marginal hippie entrepreneurs. Pot farming is still illegal in California but the Washington and Oregon legal market promises a profit. This is a story about struggling for that second chance, elusive dreams and ghosts. While the ghosts hover over everything and eventually deliver the terror, it is the living that brings most of the pain and heartbreak.

Rebecca, her boyfriend Calendra and her 4 year old daughter Megan have left behind everything to take a job growing marijuana for a shady pot grower called Coyote who tends to promise more than he can deliver. His land was bought from the estate of a deceased biker named Spider. Down the road lives another aging biker, Diesel Dan, who has spent time in prison for Meth crimes and lost most of his family land to Coyote but feels he can pull it together for his 21 year old son and his son's pregnant girlfriend. His son though is making the same bad decisions his father did and is harboring anger over the loss of the family land not to mention the money Coyote still owes him and his father for farm construction work. There is a darkness around them all and little Megan is closest to it as she sees and talks to the ghosts that inhabitant the area.

As horror novels goes, this is a slow burner steeping in character building and the weaving of the threads that connect them. But Matthew V. Brockmeyer builds up the social and psychological tension so well that you might even miss a few of the more subtle supernatural chills. By the time the terror and the violence starts, you are caught up emotionally with these beautiful losers. Rebecca is basically the main protagonist. She is disillusioned with "getting off the grid" and is beginning to see that her boyfriend's plan of making enough to buy land of his own is just a pipe dream. More disturbing is her daughter's habit of talking to no one visible and playing with the dead bodies of the crows that litter the fields. Calendra tells Rebecca they will soon have enough to leave but doesn't tell her that he and Coyote are aware of a presence that keeps them rooted to the pot farm.

All the characters are flawed in major ways. It would be easy to say none are likeable but that would not be necessarily true. Of the adults, Rebecca is the most likeable and easy to identify with. But no one except perhaps Coyote is really evil. They all have their dreams even if they don't know how to fulfill it and keep it. What is intriguing about this story is that it is arguable whether there needs to be a supernatural aspect to it at all. It is dark and haunting in a very natural sense culminating in a multiple scenes of violence feeds off the dilemma they made for themselves. Yet the supernatural aspect does fit and it allows us to be concerned for the only really likeable character, Megan, who is the only one in the book involved in this dead end scenario for no reason of her own and has the most to lose.

Brockmeyer has created an fascinating world in his Humboldt County setting. It is a land of dreamers and outcasts, wannabe hippies and washed-out hippies, weary bikers with dreams and a younger and aimless generation enmeshed in drugs and guns. Among this the author adds a supernatural terror which starts slow and eerily but comes in full play by the end. Yet it is the characters in this dark tale of just-out-of-reach redemption that makes it work. You don't often come across a debut novel that is so unique in the horror field, one that speaks of scarred humanity so elegantly. For that reason alone, Kind Nepenthe deserves five stars.

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I received an advanced copy of this book through Netgalley. This book had me from the very beginning. I love that it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. I would highly recommend this book to my fellow readers. Thank you for the chance to review this book!!!!

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This was a very long slow burn of a story, and it was a struggle to keep reading; it really didn't hold my attention. Most of the characters were unlikable, and I really had a hard time caring much for any of them.

I think if the author had chosen either horror or hick-noir, one or the other, the entire book might have been more cohesive story. As written, it felt like to me that it couldn't find its identity. The writing wasn't bad, though, and I'll definitely be looking for more by this author.

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