A sudden storm appears above an isolated farmhouse in rural Illinois, bringing with it a relentless and unnatural rain. A rain that eats away at everything it touches. A rain that turns people into monsters.
Trapped inside his crumbling home, a father must do everything he can to keep his family from falling apart. But the rain calls to them, and not everyone wants to stay inside.
Haunted by memories of his tragic childhood, he must put aside his painful past and find a way to keep them all safe. But the rain shows no signs of stopping, and time is running out.
Although it is supposed to be summer here in August in the UK, it has not stopped raining for about a month. I’ve spent a lot of time reading whilst listening to the sound of rain beating against the roof. Therefore, I was a little apprehensive to start Downpour, a horror about corrosive rain which turns people into monsters.
Scott lives in his childhood farmhouse in isolated Illinois with his wife and two children. He has his flaws - he is lazy and can be quick to temper, having recently discovered that his wife is having an affair and the money is quickly running out. When a strange raincloud comes in, Scott is certain something is wrong as the rain seems to change everyone it touches. As he battens down the hatches, it’s a race to stop the water from finding its way into the house in any way that it can.
The story is told through the perspective of Scott as he tries to do all he can to save his family. He is not the immediate hero - he makes some silly decisions and snaps at his wife and his kids. However, as a reader we do warm to him to a certain extent as we know his heart is in the right place. The two children are also key characters, with four-year-old Tallie not understanding the danger, which made for a lot of tension in the later half of the book.
The story is dark and melancholic and there is a trigger warning for violence towards animals and children being in danger. The scenes are painted in an atmospheric way that really helps you to picture what was happening. This adds to the horror element, along with the fact that the enemy here is water which can easily find its way onto and into everything in the house. The feeling of claustrophobia is strong, and it also heightens the domestic drama as well.
There are a few stock phrases that are overused which perhaps need an edit before final publication (eg: ‘might as well have been on the moon’ is used at least 3 or 4 times which stuck out to me). However, the story is well paced and there are a few great twists before the conclusion. The ending might divide some readers, but I quite enjoyed how Hawkins chose to wrap the story up. There isn’t much in the way of a resolution and the phenomenon is never really explained, but it was a good story which really stuck in your mind after reading it.
Overall, Downpour is a creepy horror which will certainly make me think twice before heading outside in a downpour after reading! Thank you to NetGalley & Christopher Hawkins for the chance to read the ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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