How many great horror writers are there? Honestly, not a lot. There are numerous good ones, and a plethora of painfully average writers, but great? Precious few. I won't bother listing the ones I believe to be truly exceptional. Your list will undoubtedly differ from mine.

Ronald Malfi has always been one of the good ones. Damned good. He seemed to come out of the gate with the goods and each book has been a rewarding experience.

His latest, Come With Me, was released with great fanfare in 2021. I immediately bought it, and then it sort of became hidden on a shelf. My eyes found it this week and I jumped right in.

Come With Me is a story of detection, and as such it is suspenseful, with a rich and involving plot. The people in the story feel alive, even the minor ones. But Come With Me is so much more than a mystery. This stunning novel is a heartbreaking look at marriage. The powerful bond of a good relationship, but also the distance that inevitably exists between any two people. It's also a sneaky ghost story that would make Richard Matheson proud.

Aaron Decker's wife bids him goodbye one sleepy morning, beckoning him to come with her. He decides to stay in bed, bringing upheaval to his life. She is killed in a horrifying, but all too common way. In the grief-fogged aftermath of the tragedy Aaron begins to discover things about his wife. Things that prove she had another life he knew absolutely nothing about.

Decker embarks on a quest to find out who his wife really was, and what horrors lurked in her past. It's a dark and terrifying journey of self-discovery and a trail of brutally murdered young women.

Like 2009's Shamrock Alley, Come With Me is a deeply personal novel for Malfi. I remember when he talked about a friend of his who was killed by an active shooter. That tragedy inspired Come With Me. Obviously his marriage was also a big inspiration for the book.

I've never missed one of Ronald Malfi's books. He's always been reliable for a good reading time, but Come With Me is a revelation. With this novel he has entered the pantheon of great writers. This book is as good as anything I've ever read in the genre.

Written by Mark Sieber

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