Nahanni National Park is one of last truly wild places on earth. Accessible only by plane, and only when the weather cooperates, it's the perfect place for estranged brothers Joseph and Oscar to have an adventure following the death of their mother. Gillian, Joseph's first love, invites herself along in the spirit of friendship.
The park is much more than beautiful. It's mysterious, with legends of giants and hidden, prehistoric animals. And among its few visitors, an outsized number of violent deaths inspire its second, more seductive name.
While dreaming of the future, the group finds themselves confronted by the past. Far from home and far from help. In the Valley of the Headless Men.
In The Valley of the Headless Men is an excellent novella which blends together folk horror and cosmic horror, written by L.P. Hernandez, and published by Cemetery Gates Media. An incredibly emotional story, intriguing and weird at some points, following the experience of Joseph, our main character, and his two companions on their travel to the mysterious Nahanni Valley.
After Joseph's mother's death, he finds himself with his half-brother going through their mother's possessions, finding letters from his disappeared father, a moment that marked him for life. One of those letters points to the Nahanni Valley, a recondite natural park in Canada, which might have some answers to the questions Joseph had about his father; the two brothers decide to go, being accompanied by Gilian, Joseph's former partner.
If something gets clear when they arrive, is that Nahanni encloses many mysteries in its wilderness, and that each one of our characters is grieving for different losses in their past. What they will live in the middle of Nahanni will deep into their wounds, but also will take them to the limit; Hernandez excellently crafts a story that mixes these emotional elements with folk horror, making a use of the prose that is simply chef kiss.
In The Valley of the Headless Man is all what you can ask from a horror novella, well paced and which will be perfect if you want to read a book that delves into the humanity of their characters. An excellent story by L.P. Hernandez.
I am LP Hernandez, writer of horror and speculative fiction. You may have heard me on The NoSleep Podcast. You may have read me in anthologies from Cemetery Gates Media, Sinister Smile Press, and Dark Matter Magazine. You may have seen me across the street from your home, taking studious notes. What are you doing up so late? Why so many piles of dirt? Wh- sorry, a bit off track there.
When I am not writing I serve as a Medical Service Corps officer in the Air Force. I love heavy metal, using cruise control to save gas, my wife and kids, dogs of all sizes, and a crisp high five.