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  • Writer's pictureAshley Mongrain

This Wretched Valley | Mini Review

Rating - ⭐⭐⭐

"This is going to be Dylan's big break. Her friend Clay, a geology student, has discovered an untouched cliff face in the Kentucky wilderness, and she is going to be the first person to climb it. Together with Clay, his research assistant Sylvia, and Dylan's boyfriend Luke, she is going to document her achievement on Instagram and finally cement her place as the next rising star in rock climbing. 

Seven months later, three bodies are discovered in the trees just off the highway. All are in various states of decay: one body a stark, white skeleton; the second emptied of its organs; and the third a mutilated corpse with the tongue, eyes, ears, and fingers removed.

But Dylan is still missing. Followers of her Instagram account report seeing disturbing livestreams, and some even claim to have caught glimpses of her vanishing into the thick woods, but no trace of her—dead or alive—has been discovered. 

Were the climbers murdered? Did they succumb to cannibalism? Or are their impossible bodies the work of an even more sinister force? Is Dylan still alive, and does she hold the answers?"


This Wretched Valley is a standalone horror novel by Jenny Kiefer.

This is the author's debut novel that is inspired the Dyatlov Pass incident, a rather infamous true crime case. For a debut novel this was okay, but as just a novel it was...meh. When I first saw that this book was coming out I was intrigued since I liked the idea of a horror novel set in the middle of nowhere that involved rock climbing. Once I found out what it was inspired by my intrigue wained, and it got even lower when the reviews started coming out since this wasn't rated the best.

Still, I decided to pick it up in the hopes it was the least bit interesting...which it wasn't. The story ended up being a bit of a hodgepodge of horror with no real explanation as to why what was happening was actually happening. What was happening was kind of boring, and I wish that the story and horror elements were a lot more intriguing.

Should you wish to pick this up, I would recommend that you listen to a good podcast that goes into detail on the Dyatlov Pass incident instead as it is a rather interesting case.

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