Book Review: The Children of Red Peak by Craig DiLouie


Title: The Children of Red Peak

Author: Craig DiLouie

Release date: November 17, 2020

First off, huge thanks to Netgalley, Redhook the publisher and Craig DiLouie for approving me for a digital ARC of ‘The Children of Red Peak.’ I would’ve had this read and reviewed by release date, but I didn’t find this until late last week after seeing Michael Patrick Hicks post that he was reading it. I hit request, believing whole-heartedly I wouldn’t get approved with the release date looming, but thank you for the approval.


I absolutely loved this book and absolutely hated this book. I blame you MPH, you SOB! haha!

In July of this year, I came across a complete paperback set of The Dark Tower series on Facebook Marketplace. I immediately went to pick it up and while chatting with the man (aka capitalbookreview on Instagram) we shared some books we’d read that were page turners. He asked if I’d read ‘Suffer the Children’ by DiLouie and I was pretty sure I had. Turns out – I hadn’t. Turns out – I didn’t even own it. So, I snagged the Kindle version and was going to start it last week… until this approval!

What I liked: ‘The Children of Red Peak’ follows a group of child hood friends, now grown up, trying to come to terms with the events in their burgeoning teens. While they were all 14 and 15, their parents moved them to a religious group in search of the Holy Spirit. While here, their enigmatic leader, Jeremiah, hears of a miracle at the top of Red Peak.

DiLouie puts forth that the Family of the Living Spirit is a cult and as such treats it as one, but for the most part, I found it sounded a lot like devoted religious people who have turned their backs of society. Of course, with the promise of ascension and eternal life, we fall more into Heaven’s Gate cult territory, but for the first 75% of the book, it’s fairly mundane worship stuff.

I loved the small snippets of flashbacks and even the memories shared of the final night. DiLouie does have a very easy way of writing and I found I was feverishly turning the pages, even if I was growing frustrated at times. I just simply wanted to know what happened, which I think at the heart of any phenomenal writer and any stunning book, is the biggest key to unlock that door for the reader. The draw, the pull, the intrigue.

Along the way we get to learn more and more about the fall out from the survivors shared horrors and more pointedly, just what happened in the weeks leading up to and then the final night itself.

DiLouie has woven such a stunning story within the story that this was truly what wrapped around my readers brain and pulled me through the rest of the book.


What I didn’t like: At its heart ‘The Children of Red Peak’ is a philosophical look at life and religion. While this can work well, for me it took up far too much property. Time and time again, we’d get small snippets of back story and then chapter after chapter of what was happening now. The entire premise of the story was the survivors returning to Red Peak 15 years later and seriously – this doesn’t even occur until about the 80% mark.

I also want to mention the 15 year anniversary idea. We get a lot of present day story. About David being a cult exit counsellor, and Beth being a psychologist and Deak being a rock star (with far too much time dedicated to his concept album, his shows) etc, but the entire time I read this I was picturing them all as 40 somethings, not recently having turned 30. The age was jarring and at times had thrown me for a loop.

And lastly (I mean there’s other things but I won’t spoil everything!) the climax. The finale. A few pages for each person, a few pages of finale. I was pissed off. I wanted to throw my Kindle. I immediately messaged Michael to complain about how I wanted so much more. GODDDDDD! I’m still furious haha! DAMN YOU DILOUIE! You had me chasing that carrot all the way up the friggin’ hillside only to learn nothing. Maybe that was part of it? Maybe that was a thematic door jam. Popped in there to work metaphorically about the nature of faith and blind following? You die and then it’s over? The book definitely had me thinking, but at the same time, I’m still angry about how it played out.

Why you should buy this: DiLouie is an absolutely beast of a writer. I’m ashamed to not have read ‘Suffer the Children’ now and even more ashamed that I had no idea he was only three hours south in Calgary.

‘The Children of Red Peak’ will be one of those books where you either love it or hate it. Either way, it is a fast-paced read that will have you thinking and while it didn’t answer the questions I wanted answered, it may for you. I’m sticking with my initial assessment here – I absolutely loved this book and absolutely hated it. Which for many folks would indicate DiLouie did his job perfectly.


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