The Vein, by Steph Nelson

The Book

The Vein
Pages: 351
Age Group: Adult
Published on 8/8/2023
Publisher: Dark Matter INK
Available on:


An abandoned mine. A mummified corpse. A simmering evil.

When a shriveled body turns up in an old silver mine, failed detective Syl Dixon gets pulled into the investigation. But the strange case is even more sinister than she imagined. And the dying town of Pate, Idaho is full of secrets that don't want to be uncovered.

People go missing all the time. Strange howls echo from the woods. Eerie portraits hang like shrines outside homes. But nobody-including the local sheriff-seems to care. The deeper Syl digs, the more she realizes she's facing a malicious darkness that has plagued Pate for over a century.

Can Syl rid the town of this evil before it swallows everything in its path, including her?

My Review

The Vein is an excellently written suspense horror novel, the debut from Steph Nelson, published by Dark Matter INK. The Vein blends police procedure with a complex story woven using multiple timelines, evolving at the half mark to a supernatural horror novel that remembers the early Stephen King.

It's 1989, and detective Syl Dixon has returned to her hometown of Pate, Idaho with the intention of selling the place where she grew up, before her Grandma disappeared. However, when a mummified corpse is found in the old silver mine, she's called by the authorities to help investigate; even if she's finding herself as a failed detective, the possibility of shining light over the mystery is stronger than her feelings.

What starts simply as the investigation over a corpse that clearly couldn't look like that soon became a big dive into the old silver mining, which was the blood that propelled this town to exist; people have been disappearing in Pate for years, linking Syl's Grandma disappearance with the corpse that appeared. Slowly, supernatural elements are introduced, enhancing the horror atmosphere in a really smart way; Nelson's writing is precise, using the exact amount of words needed to create a memorable experience.

Using several POV allows the author to introduce complexity at the same time horror slowly takes over the story; the plot is quite unpredictable, and that's partly why I'm trying to avoid spoilers over it. Pacing hits a sweet spot, beginning with a slow pace that gradually quickens, with more tense scenes as we advance in the story.

The Vein is an excellent horror thriller, difficult to believe it is the debut of Steph Nelson; it blends the atmosphere of Salem's Lot with the characters and multiple timelines of IT. Definitely one of the glad surprises of this year.

The Author/s

Steph Nelson

Steph Nelson

A lifelong PNW girl, Steph currently lives in Idaho, and when she's not working on her next story, she's devouring horror, thriller, and even romance books.