Review: Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi





St. Vincent’s Orphanage for Boys.

Turn of the century, in a remote valley in Pennsylvania.

Here, under the watchful eyes of several priests, thirty boys work, learn, and worship. Peter Barlow, orphaned as a child by a gruesome murder, has made a new life here. As he approaches adulthood, he has friends, a future… a family.

Then, late one stormy night, a group of men arrive at their door, one of whom is badly wounded, occult symbols carved into his flesh. His death releases an ancient evil that spreads like sickness, infecting St. Vincent’s and the children within. Soon, boys begin acting differently, forming groups. Taking sides.

Others turn up dead.

Now Peter and those dear to him must choose sides of their own, each of them knowing their lives — and perhaps their eternal souls — are at risk.


Boys in the Valley by Philip Fracassi was recommended to me by a friend who was really impressed by it. While it was a commendable horror genre book I wasn’t exactly blown away by the story or the horror in it. Although the storyline and the pacing was good, in all honesty I’ve read and watched hundreds of books and movies with similar orphan/religious horror themes and Boys in the Valley didn’t contribute anything new to the genre.

The author’s portrayal of character development was rather limited, with the exception of Peter. As a reasult, establishing any form of emotional connection or empathy with the other characters, whose perspectives the narrative followed, became quite difficult. The plot twists presented in the book were strikingly obvious, leaving little room for surprise or intrigue. Additionally, numerous plot holes remained unresolved, which, personally, did not align with my preferences as a reader.

However, it was a short read and I found myself oddly satisfied with the fate that befell those two reprehensible priests who were inflicting trauma upon innocent children. The conclusion of the story also left a favorable impression on me, contributing to my overall appreciation of the narrative.

Book Cover:

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