The Barnes & Noble Review
Second in the Cree Black series (following City of Masks), this paranormal thriller is filled with fascinating elements of Navajo culture and traditional beliefs. Author Daniel Hecht finds a careful narrative balance between family drama, eerie occultism, and scientific examination.
Teenager Tommy Keeday suffers strange and dangerous seizures while a student at a school for gifted Native Americans in New Mexico and is believed to be possessed by an evil Navajo spirit. Seattle-based parapsychologist Cree Black is asked to study and save the boy. Along with her team of ghost hunters, she uses her own empathic skills to delve into the dark secrets of the teachers and fellow students who might have something to do with Tommy's illness.
Hecht makes a bold effort to give readers believable investigations into the supernatural. Cree considers and applies theories involving magnetic fields, mysterious energies, genetics, and geographical forces. The narrative is leavened with a great many separate back-stories, as several fascinating Navajo myths and local legends are discussed in depth. This plausible, spooky, and grabbing mixture of solid detective work and paranormal chills is highly recommended.
In a radical departure from her urban life, Ann Turner buys a piece of remote Vermont land and sets up a tent home in deep forest. She's trying to escape an unending string of personal disasters in Boston; more, she desperately wants to leave behind a world she sees as increasingly defined by consumerism, hypocrisy, and division.
As she writes in her journal, "There's got to be a more honest, less divided way to live."
She soon learns she was mistaken in thinking a kindly Mother Earth would grant her wisdom and serenity in her new home. The forest confronts her with unanticipated dangers, aching loneliness, harsh weather, instinctive fears, and unsettling encounters with wild animals. It's beautiful, yes, but life in the woods is never easy. When necessity requires her to start work as a farmhand, she quickly realizes that she held similarly childish illusions about small farms. Under the stern tutelage of Diz Brassard, the farm's sixty-year-old matriarch, and the gentler...