Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks, and when she saw what she had done, she wrote in her journal, “Just saved the world, son.”

Maplecroft is a blend of fact and a whole lot of fiction, revolving around the lives of Lizzie Borden, her sister Emma, and a doctor investigating a series of strange and violent occurrences happening in the sleepy town of Fall River. Creatures have been creeping around in the shadows, friends and neighbors begin acting strangely, and there’s something… unspeakable… in the water. Lizzie Borden has known about it. She’s known about it since the malady first crept into the minds of her parents. The malady that threatened to overtake the village whose residents now scorn her as a murderess.

This is an easy book to get lost in, that will hit fans of H. P. Lovecraft right in the nostalgia. The author, Cherie Priest, crafts the language and tone of the book in such a way that it really feels like it was written in the time of Lovecraft. It doesn’t feel forced, it doesn’t feel faked or cheesy, it feels natural. And that is just such a rare quality in a modern fiction novel with a turn of the century setting. There’s something about the formality of the language used in that time period, that Ms. Priest holds in such excellent command, a sense of displacement that really amps up tension, that comes right in through your chest and freezes your breath in your throat. The creeping, slow madness that follows the plot into its climax is so visceral.

In my opinion, this is a must-read for any fan of cosmic horror.