Well, it's certainly no The Bloodening. Alas.
I really wanted to like this first novel by William Darrid, a paperback original with somber cover art and the perfectly '70s title of The Blooding. There are no reviews for it on Amazon, one on Goodreads, and one here, which is where I first found out about it. Interesting that one of the novels it's compared to isn't The Other or Rosemary's Baby, but James Dickey's Deliverance. Why, that's literary class right there!
Darrid, a Broadway and television producer, is a solid writer, easily bringing to life this dusty locale during WWII, and begins weaving in the plight of a rabid dog (hmm...) named Jim Dandy as it slowly wends its way through the lives and roads of Crowley Flats. But I just couldn't stick with it; I tried and tried but somehow the novel never clicked for me. And did I want to like it! Really great cover (artist unknown) of a placid, stillborn town; it all just oozes dread the more you look at it, the landscape sere and foreboding, noonday evil beneath a blazing sun...
Of course "a haunting novel" is not the same thing as "a horror novel." That's not a bad thing, as it's much more a quiet, brooding kind of Western (perhaps a weak Xerox of Larry McMurtry?) and it was probably unfair to compare it to 'Salem's Lot. I simply was not captivated and put the book back on my shelf only half-read. But maybe, just maybe, some of you have read The Blooding, and you can just let me know what you thought, especially if its nerve-shattering climax haunts you forever.