Cold Moon over Babylon by Michael McDowell is an American Gothic horror set in the sleepy town of Babylon, Alabama.
The Larkin family’s past is marked by a tragic accident that claimed the lives of the Larkin parents, leaving their young son and daughter and struggling blueberry farm in the care of their grandmother.
unfortunately the tragedy doesn’t end there, year later 14 year old Margret Larkin is murdered and her killer is unremosrsful and above the law.
Soon a dark presence invades Babylon corrupting the stillness and quiet of the small town, an ddriving the murderer to the edge of insanity.
I listened to the audiobook version of this book and I really enjoyed the narration of Scott Brick, he really managed to imbue an ominous tension which really immersed me into the story.
I’m a huge fan of Mcdowell and in this book there is a great interplay between the all too human monster and the monstrous supernatural forces.
Content warnings: Sexual assault and death of a child.
Excerpt from Cold Moon over Babylon by Michael McDowell
It was a lumbering black hearse, about twenty years old, that had been converted into a fishing wagon. Half a dozen cane poles stuck out the back.
“Well,” said Nina, “I don’t know who that is, but they crazy to be going out right now. Fish bite in the rain, but they don’t bite when there’s lightning started. And you better get on home, honey, ’cause it looks bad for tonight. I sure hope it don’t do nothing to your berries—”
Margaret laughed, a little nervously.
“You go on now, child,” said Nina. “And you tell your grandmama I’m thinking about her, and next time she comes into town she ought to stop and speak, and not just drive by.”
Margaret replied that she would relay the message, and then hurried off toward home. She was outside the town now, and there were no more houses between her and the Styx River. The trees were dark beneath the gathering lowering clouds. A single car passed her; it had an Alabama license plate.
Margaret increased her speed when she felt the first few drops of rain. The wind in her ears deafened her. She glanced behind her several times to make sure that no car was coming up. The Styx River road had no shoulder, and she was forced to ride on the asphalt. Because the edge of the paving was ragged and broken away in places, she traveled in the middle of the lane.
She knew every slight turn in the road, could identify many single trees by the distinctive pattern of their branches, and was familiar with every clearing and small rise that she passed. This exact knowledge of the road made the trip shorter, for she always knew where she was and how much farther she had to go. She sighed with relief when she began to turn the bend that would bring into view the Styx River, the bridge that crossed it, and the second story of their farmhouse on the other side. She had a good chance now to make it home before the rain began in earnest.
Margaret sailed around the bend without pedaling; the bridge was only fifty yards away. She was always a little nervous to cross it, and was careful to pass over with her eyes focused on the road beyond. She particularly avoided staring into the black water that flowed beneath the uneven planking.