by Steven Rigolosi

Black Rose Writing
2022, 372 pages, $22.95

ISBN 978-1-68433-935-8

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A dark and dangerous history rules during a period nearly 300 years long in Agamenticus, Maine. In the present-day, suffering from a sleep disorder, artist-songwriter Matthew Rollins is sold into watching over the house named Kinnawe, Stephen-King-Overlook style, from a strange Realtor. What haunts it? What does its violent and abhorrent past, with an evil preacher from the 1740s, have to do with the present?

Apparently, a lot. Back in 1746-1749, events occur, wrapped around the devilish work of Parthalan Mac Conshnamha, who comes in possession of a tract of land that would become Kinnawe. Parthalan is a minister with total dominion over his church. The town avoids upheaval, famines, floods and other natural and unnatural disaster because of his temperament, control . . . and pagan sacrifices.

A lot of people get killed to ensure Parthalan’s iron rule remains. But to provide progeny for the evil ruler is going to take some doing. And those who know better than to perpetrate the evil persist in their resistance. That same battle of good vs. evil in 1749 continues to the present day, and Matthew may just be at the center of it all.

The novel has almost a WAR AND PEACE cast of characters. They were spearmen, in many cases, hard to empathize with, as a reader. But the tale was mesmerizing enough.