In the southern Appalachian mountains, a woman stumbles into dark family secrets, backwoods justice, and seemingly impossible events that threaten to rip apart her world.

“Like an episode of The Twilight Zone set in the Appalachians, Lonnie Busch delivers an exciting, surreal and mind-bending mystery. Michelle Stage’s tumble down the mountain and into a different reality is a haunting trip that I couldn’t put down. The perfect summer read.” Ace Atkins, New York Times Bestselling author of Robert B. Parker’s Angel Eyes and The Revelators

“Lonnie Busch masterfully captures both the ordinary and the extraordinary in unsentimental, commanding prose in the chilling and atmospheric, The Cabin on Souder Hill. When the husband of the main character, Michelle Stage, disappears in the Appalachian woods searching for the source of a strange light below their cabin, she soon follows, tumbling into an alternate reality. From then on, just like Michelle, I was caught and couldn’t put it down. Busch’s instinctive understanding of love and loss makes the surreal seem real. He never skips a suspenseful beat as he explores the painful trails love and loss make in our world with clear-eyed affection and wit. All his characters, unique and fully realized, take you to surprising places and some will make you laugh – even as you begin to question reality.”— Christine Carbo, best-selling author of the award-winning Glacier Mystery Series

“Michelle’s journey through a landscape of fading memories and false realities is made all the more arduous by the eerie and atmospheric world that surrounds her. It all seems correct—but how can it be? Busch’s characters are layered and complex, veering from tragic to comic and back again. Absorbing and compulsively readable, THE CABIN ON SOUDER HILL illustrates the power of the mind to overcome the dichotomy of what is rational and what is true.” — William Kowalski, author of Eddie’s Bastard and The Best Polish Restaurant in Buffalo

“Award-winning author Lonnie Busch has honed his craft over the years, creating memorable characters in unpredictable circumstances. Now he’s at the top of his game with The Cabin on Souder Hill, a skillfully plotted thriller with more twists and turns than a mountain road with perilous switchbacks. A haunting story I couldn’t put down.” — Susan Snowden, author of Southern Fried Lies and A Closet Full of Masks

“Part mystery, part marriage story, and full on thriller, Lonnie Busch’s novel, The Cabin on Souder Hill, follows Michelle Stage on a riveting adventure to solve a seeming schism between two realities based around the cabin she and her husband bought in the western North Carolina mountains to escape the city, a tragic death and their failing marriage. A conflicting memory between Michelle and her husband begins her search for her truth. Busch weaves his tale with indelible characters, well-wrought prose, both durable and lyrical at turns, and brings the eye of a literary writer to provide a multi-layered and exhilarating read. Besides creating a highly engaging narrative, Busch captures the details and inner-workings of his southern setting perfectly. The Cabin on Souder Hill is a remarkable debut novel the reader will not forget, relishing in its story as well as its telling by a true wordsmith.” — Jubal Tiner, award winning author of The Waterhouse.

“A wild ride of suspense and mystique that is thought provoking and compelling.” — Lisa Renee Jones, New York Times Bestselling Author of The Poet 


Michelle and Cliff Stage bought their isolated vacation cabin in the mountains of North Carolina with hopes of repairing their eighteen-year marriage. But when Cliff disappears one night searching for the source of a mysterious light in the woods, Michelle’s life will change in unimaginable ways. After the sheriff’s department fails to find him, Michelle scrambles down the same dark mountainside alone, the strange, beckoning light her only guide.

What she discovers is a cabin, identical to theirs, housing a life she barely recognizes—and a husband she hardly knows. Cliff is a changed man. Now caring and considerate, no longer a manipulative womanizer, he is also missing a finger. He claims that Cassie, their teenage daughter, is dead, killed in a car accident over a year ago. Michelle knows that’s not possible—Cassie had phoned her from Atlanta only hours before. Even when shown Cassie’s grave, Michelle refuses to accept she’s gone.

Michelle wants her daughter and her life back, and the only clue to what has happened is a man named Pink. A real estate agent and the man who years earlier built Michelle and Cliff’s cabin, Pink was rumored to have killed his wife and buried her on the property then vanished never to be seen again. But in Michelle’s new reality, Pink and his wife still reside in town and Pink’s smile-splashed billboards are everywhere. To get back to the world where her daughter exists, Michelle must unravel the mystery of Pink, all the while questioning her very reality—and her sanity. Haunting, atmospheric, and deeply thought-provoking, THE CABIN ON SOUDER HILL questions the very nature of our existence and the choices we make to form it.


Lonnie Busch is an award-winning author whose work has also appeared in Southwest Review, The Minnesota Review, The Baltimore Review and others. His awards include the Clay Reynolds Novella Prize, finalist for the Tobias Wolff Award for Fiction, and the Glimmer Train Very Short Fiction Award. He is also a painter, illustrator, animator who has created artwork for many companies including the “Greetings from America” stamps and “Wonders of America” for the USPS.