Kristin Dearborn’s 2024 novel Faith of Dawn is an unpredictable roller coaster that mixes crime drama with science fiction and fantasy elements and a good dose of horror to give us something we’ve never seen before and never knew we needed: a Bigfoot thriller destined to become a cult classic.

Faith of Dawn comes with a litany of content warnings, not the least of which are dead infants, sexual assault, and underage sex workers. And the book definitely delivers what it promises. However, at no point does it feel gratuitous or gimmicky and even the parts that may make readers more than a bit uncomfortable feel important to the narrative. More importantly, they feel real, which can’t be easy to do in a book where Bigfoot-type creatures play a huge role.


Amanda Lane, a US Army vet and victim of chronic PTSD nightmares is, at times, an unlikeable protagonist. She’s in her head too much, obsessing over her estranged husband. She looks down on the people of her hometown, seeing them as hicks and hillbillies. She sees everything in terms of black-and-white, good or bad, as though she’s still in Afghanistan. And that’s what makes her such a brilliant character. She’s deeply flawed, which makes her feel more relatable and more human. Lane is also very much a female character written by a woman for women in that her looks aren’t mentioned much, other than to say she isn’t particularly glamorous or beautiful. Instead, she is described in terms of her strength, her resilience, and her overall badassness. She is a fully realized character with fears and goals of her own which makes you root for her all the more, even when she’s at her most self-pitying or erratic.

Furthermore, all of the characters in Faith of Dawn feel well-rounded. They all have a clear purpose in furthering the plot, whether it’s the strict but nurturing leader of Mabscott’s church, Ma, or the tragic teenage sex worker Misty. Everyone is a little bit unlikeable and they all fall into familiar tropes on some level or other (such as the somewhat incompetent Sheriff’s Deputy or the washed-up porn star), but it adds to the world Dearborn has built in this novel and makes readers feel like all of these characters could be someone from their own hometown. We are meant to love and hate these characters somewhat simultaneously and it just works.

The book clips along at a fair pace, taking us effortlessly from Lane’s investigation of the missing girls to the girls themselves and the horrors they’re forced to endure. We go from Boston to the podunk Florida town of Mabscott with its rundown trailer parks and dingy bars, to the bayou, to the Waco-esque compound that houses Ma’s odd new-age church.  The urgency of Lane’s investigation is never lost on us, but Dearborn takes the time to paint a colorful picture of life in Mabscott and its seedy underbelly of sex work, crime, and corruption. And while the book has elements of the fantastical and the horrific, it manages to never feel absurd or forced. 

While Faith of Dawn is undeniably a dark and chilling tale, it is also a story of hope and resilience. As Amanda Lane confronts the horrors that lie beneath the surface of her hometown, she discovers a strength she never knew she possessed and ultimately finds herself and her freedom in the most unexpected of places. Her cynical black-and-white thinking is challenged by the young but jaded Misty who proves herself a valuable ally in a town where no one is on Lane’s side and together the two challenge the small-town mentality that threatens to swallow up Mabscott and, perhaps, the world as they know it. As much as it is a story of horror and crime, Faith of Dawn is also a story of personal growth and redemption.


In conclusion, Kristin Dearborn’s Faith of Dawn is a gripping and thought-provoking read that will appeal to fans of supernatural fiction and psychological horror alike. With its atmospheric prose, compelling characters, and spine-tingling plot twists, it is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who dare to enter its dark and mysterious world.

Faith of Dawn is available to Preorder from Cemetery Dance’s website here (Released Feb 16th)

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