Book Review: Home to Roost by Chauncey Rogers
Nestled among the green pastures of the American Heartland lies a typical farmstead whose picturesque haven is about to be disrupted…
At first, change comes by the arrival of a new rooster. Brad is small for his size, smaller even than the gossip mongering hens who call the farm home. The flock is entirely subservient to Long Tail. A robust, virile patriarch who takes questions from no one – especially not Brad. It’s made clear that Brad is to fall in line or face the consequences, but to this hand-raised bird the flock’s customs seem strange. They have stringent rules sustained by a belief system that keeps Long Tail at the top of the coop.
Though Brad tries to integrate himself into their strange world, he can’t help but question some of Long Tail’s methods. Convinced he can keep the flock safer by his own means, Brad makes some unexpected friends and inadvertently sets in motion dangerous power plays. But if you thought you were about to read the next Animal Farm retelling, you were wrong. A new rooster isn’t the only change coming to this farmstead. The next is far more sinister.
Beyond the hen house, past the open fields, and behind the barn lies the dark folds of a forest ravine. From this ominous place comes a creature. A dark creature that no one has seen, but whose lingering howls have been heard barreling over the remote fields at night. Since its arrival some of the animals have been acting strange. Some have even turned violent.
As the days go on, humans and animals alike will discover that the true battle at hand may be against evil itself. And it may be a battle they are doomed to lose.
When I first started reading Home to Roost, I assumed I was getting a well-written tale told from the perspective of a too-small rooster. I expected the power struggles, was amazed at the writing, and will likely never look at a chicken coop the same way again – but what I also got was far more malevolent. I had no idea how dark a corner this novel would turn. Home to Roost is more than a story about a rooster, but a grim tale about how much one personality can take before it cracks.
You wouldn’t expect a person to feel so much emotion for a rooster, but little Brad had me convinced! Author Chauncey Rogers pulls the reader into the flock until suddenly you’ve sprouted feathers and a beak. You get a full sense of their small lives and how they view the farm, which is the entirety of their world. Simultaneously, the narrative Rogers created is larger than one chicken coop. There are ties here to our own histories, our own governments, our own societies that make Home to Roost enticingly full-fledged (or should I say full-feathered?) that convinces readers of Brad’s plight.
If anyone can write a horror story from the perspective of a rooster and not only pull it off, but pull it off extremely well, it’s Chauncey Rogers. After reading Home to Roost I am officially a fan. I look forward to whatever else his creative mind produces over the course of his career. It’s true that writing is a craft and Rogers shows real skill. I find his work more robust even than some big-name authors. He has classic cadence and pacing, reminiscent of Stephen King, that makes the pages fly by.
What would you change?
The only thing I would change in Home to Roost is the occasional timeline shift. These could be confusing and didn’t always seem necessary.
The Bottom Line
By the final chapters my heart was pounding. By the end of the author’s note I had chills. This is a can’t-be-missed horror novel for fans of Stephen King and Nick Cutter – readers who enjoy the slow burn of a well-crafted work of terror.
Verdict: Buy It
Page Length: 322
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