Tag Archives: Devil

John Milliken Thompson. Love and Lament. New York: Random House, 2013.

Love and LamentDeath trails fast on the heels of the Hartsoe family. At age six, the youngest Hartsoe, Mary Bet, mistakes a circuit rider for the Devil. She cowers in the shadow of the Devil on horseback with hobnail boots and a black handlebar moustache. Soon after the encounter, Mary Bet’s eight other brother and sisters and her mother begin dying off, one by one, as if in a orchestrated funeral procession. Mary Bet believes that the Hartsoe family is cursed. But her generation and her father’s clutch to life during one of America’s more trying, transitional phases – Reconstruction.

Mary Bet’s father, Rezin Cicero, or R.C. for short, fought in the Civil War and wants to distance himself from the memories of battle. However, the constant reminder of his peg leg makes moving on a challenge. His miserly father, Samuel Hartsoe, withheld the family business from him. Samuel believes that R.C. should learn and labor to generate his own fortune. R.C. manages a general store and married one of William “Captain Billie” Murchison’s daughters, Susan Elizabeth. R.C. and Susan Elizabeth’s marriage tangles the family trees somewhat awkwardly. Samuel Hartsoe still feels lingering indignation that his father, John Siler, sold the Hartsoe family home to the drunken and vulgar Captain Billie rather than bequeathing it to him. As R.C.’s children and his wife die by a seeming string of dumb and simple misfortune, his faith flags. He rejects what others mourn as God’s will and he descends into madness. His youngest daughter, Mary Bet watches guiltily while R.C.’s body and mind decay. Love and Lament is a story concerned with the tension of family relationships, community exchanges, and constant hardships.

Meanwhile, Mary Bet, the story’s heroine, matures as the broken, war-torn South ushers in new industrialization and alterations in established values at the turn of the century. Mary Bet was born the year the railroad arrived in Haw County, a loosely fictionalized version of Chatham County. Mary Bet is a figure of the New South and a liminal character. She struggles to unshackle herself and move beyond the past. In her will, Mary Bet’s mother Susan Elizabeth deeds her jewels to her prettiest daughter, her silver to her most ambitious, and the family Bible to Mary Bet. Her mother’s gift appoints Mary Bet as the keeper of the Hartsoe family history. And fittingly so — Mary Bet is the only one of R.C. and Susan Elizabeth’s children to enter adulthood after all. From the rubble of the old world, Mary Bet emerges as a modern woman.

Novelist John Milliken Thompson spins a family saga rooted in the Southern Gothic tradition that spans from Reconstruction to World War I. The grief of the Hartsoe family echoes the changing climate of post-Civil War South. Thompson relates his story with mesmerizing and authentic detail that evokes great pathos for the Hartsoe clan. His rendering of Mary Bet from age six to age thirty rings true. With Mary Bet and the rest of the Hartsoes, Thompson accentuates how memory and history can haunt us, from the past long into the future.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Chatham, Historical, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Thompson, John Milliken

Travis Thrasher. Hurt. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2013.

hurtIn this fourth and final installment in the Solitary Tales, author Travis Thrasher takes us back once more to the fictional town of Solitary, North Carolina.

Chris Buckley has tried everything when it comes to the evil in Solitary. He’s mocked it, pretended it doesn’t exist, given in for a time, even run away. Nothing has stopped his demon-possessed great-grandfather, Walter Kinner, from giving up his satanic control on the town. Worst of all, Chris is somehow the centerpiece of his upcoming final showdown with the powers of good. Tired, terrified, but most of all determined never to give in to the Devil, Chris takes the only course of action left– fighting back. It’s hard enough being a teenaged boy without having to fight the powers of darkness, but with his belief in the powers of God growing stronger every day, Chris has hope where before he had none.

Unfortunately, his very real demons know exactly how to keep him on their side– by threatening the ones he loves. His mother has been missing for some time, held by Walter’s henchmen. They’re also threatening his latest girlfriend, the sweet and guileless Kelsey. Since his other two girlfriends, Jocelyn and Lily, have both ended up as bloody sacrifices, Chris was reluctant to start dating again. But there’s just something about Kelsey that makes him think everything will be okay. But there is a long fight ahead, and no telling who will emerge triumphant. Will faith, hope, and love keep back the darkness?

Check out this final chapter in the Solitary Tales in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2013, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Thrasher, Travis

Travis Thrasher. Temptation. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2012.

Junior year is over for Chris Buckley in the small town of Solitary, North Carolina, but school isn’t out. Forced to attend summer classes at Harrington High in order to graduate, Chris can think of about a million things a normal teenager would rather be doing than listening to Mr. Taggert drone on about literature and algebra. But Chris isn’t a normal teenager, not after the past year in Solitary. There are much darker, scarier things abroad in this seemingly sleepy mountain town than algebra.

This third installment in The Solitary Tales finds our teenage hero worn down. After the murders, satanic rituals, and strange phenomena he has witnessed over the course of just twelve months, all Chris wants is for it to stop. His friends have moved away or died, his mother is an alcoholic mess, and he has no one to stand with against the darkness. The enigmatic Pastor Jeremiah Marsh assures him that he has an answer to Chris’s pain– all Chris has to do is give up and give in. Pastor Marsh and his friends need Chris Buckley: they need him to fall in line, to stop fighting, and to stop falling in love with the wrong sort of girls. But what they need most of all is for Chris to trust them that he has powers he doesn’t fully understand– powers related directly to the founding of Solitary, and to what makes it such a hotbed of demonic activity. It’s very tempting: Chris is only sixteen, and what kind of sixteen-year-old takes on the Devil? But as Chris learns more and more about his true identity and his family’s history with Solitary, his horror grows, and it becomes more difficult for him to accept Pastor Marsh’s proposal. Chris craves the relief of a normal life, but is it worth his soul?

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2012, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Thrasher, Travis

Stacey Cochran. The Loneliest. Raleigh, NC: Stacey Cochran Books, 2011.

Jason Roberts is a small-time author who has just tragically lost his wife to cancer. Following a struggle with depression and thoughts of suicide, he sells their home in Arizona and hits the road. His travels take him all the way to Little Switzerland, deep in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. Jason eventually finds a small cabin to rent, and attempts to settle in and write his next novel. But something isn’t right– his landlord, a taciturn man named Cyrus, gives him the creeps, and while hiking in the woods, Jason  discovers a concrete slab that just may be covering the entrance to Hell itself. Worst of all, his wife may be trapped there, and Jason is the only one who can rescue her. But is it all a delusion?

As the tormented author writes his novel, he discovers that his fiction seems to be accurately predicting reality. Is art imitating life, or is it the other way round? Hounded by a curious local news reporter and the voices in his own head, Jason might be losing his mind…or seeing clearly for the first time. Is Cyrus really who he says he is? Is his wife truly dead? Do ghosts exist?  Described by Cochran as “part psychological thriller, part paranormal romance,” The Loneliest is a mind-bending exploration into the nature of how we construct reality.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Cochran, Stacey, Horror, McDowell, Mitchell, Mountains, Suspense/Thriller

Travis Thrasher. Gravestone. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2011.

Chris Buckley still isn’t sure whether or not he survived the ritual murder of his true love. He’s walking and breathing, but something inside feels dead. Unfortunately, life goes on as usual (or unusual) in the strange and sinister town of Solitary, North Carolina. In this sequel to Solitary and the second book in the Solitary Tales, Chris finds himself swept along in the daily grind with the rest of the kids at Harrington High– taking classes, eating lunch, and getting picked on by the school bully. His mother still struggles with alcoholism and depression following her divorce, but she manages to bring in a steady income and even finds Chris a part-time job. On the outside, Chris looks and acts like any other teenager.

However, unlike his compatriots, Chris’s goals have nothing to do with going to college or getting good grades. He has one thing on his mind: exposing Solitary’s evil, embodied by Pastor Jeremiah Marsh, to the world. The problem with this is that the Devil in Solitary is strong and watches Chris unceasingly. Bad things have happened in the past to those who have tried to root it out, and if Chris keeps pushing, he might be next. Thankfully, Chris isn’t alone in his fight, but he isn’t sure who to trust: Iris, the strange old lady who runs the inn where he works? Jared, his long-lost cousin? Poe, who used to be Jocelyn’s best friend? Sheriff Wells, who once told Chris to come to him with anything? As before, no one is forthcoming, and Chris must make his way blindly forward, hoping that this time, his decisions won’t result in his own or anyone else’s death. But evil is strong, and that hope may be in vain.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Religious/Inspirational, Thrasher, Travis

Travis Thrasher. Solitary. Colorado Springs, CO: David C. Cook, 2010.

Chris Buckley is dealing with a lot for a 16-year-old: first his parents divorced, and now Chris and his mother have moved from Chicago to the small town of her girlhood in the rural North Carolina mountains. Solitary, North Carolina is as different from Chicago as night from day– here Chris and his mother live in a three-room cabin without internet access or television, and the center of town is small enough to fit into one city block. Chris is miserable at the town high school, where he manages to get on the wrong side of the school bully and his posse, can’t find his classes, and everyone stares at him constantly. But Solitary has one thing Chicago doesn’t: Jocelyn Evans.

Jocelyn is the most beautiful girl in Solitary, the most beautiful girl Chris has ever seen. Although she first ignores him and then treats him with disdainful politeness, he can’t help but keep trying to befriend her. Little by little, her icy exterior thaws, and he starts to see the real Jocelyn, who is kind, spirited–and fears for her life. Chris doesn’t understand what she’s so afraid of, but the rest of the school seems to know. Only no one’s talking, and when Chris tries to solve the mystery on his own, things get ugly quickly.

There are cryptic, anonymous notes warning him to stay away from Jocelyn, strange dogs haunting the woods behind his house, and the stares of his new classmates now seem more sinister than curious. There’s something strange about the church everyone attends, as well, especially Jeremiah  Marsh, the charismatic pastor. Everyone in town seems to take the time to tell Chris that he and his mom don’t belong here, they’re outsiders, and they had better keep their heads down if they know what’s good for them. But no one tells Chris Buckley what to do, and he refuses to give up his precious relationship with Jocelyn, even if it means his destruction. Which it surely will, because the Devil is alive and well in Solitary.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010, 2010-2019, Children & Young Adults, Henderson, Horror, Mountains, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Thrasher, Travis

F. Paul Wilson. Reprisal: A Novel of the Adversary Cycle. New York: Tor, 2011.

F. Paul Wilson’s Adversary Cycle, originally published between 1981 and 1992, has been updated by the author and is now enjoying a revival. The series begins in 1941, when an incomprehensible evil whom we come to know as the Adversary is released among a group of Nazis in the Romanian wilderness. Over the course of the next four novels a wide cast of characters develops, all of whom are affected by this evil, either joining the fight against it, or falling to its dark power throughout the course of the 20th century. Reprisal, the fifth novel in this horror series, sees the Adversary rise again to seek revenge against those who tried to vanquish him in times past. The sixth and final novel of the series, Nightworld, is due to be republished in 2012.

Will Ryerson of Pendleton, North Carolina, is in reality Bill Ryan, a defrocked Jesuit priest from New York City. Years ago, a horrifying murder caused him to flee Manhattan and go into hiding in the small college town of Pendleton. Although reclusive, he has developed a good life for himself as a groundsman at Darnell University. Will reads Kierkegaard and Camus, performs small repairs and maintenance, and stays as far away from telephones as he can. If Will gets too close, the continuous ringing starts, followed by a terrified child’s screaming voice. Ryerson’s sole friend and companion is Lisl, a young, insecure assistant professor in the math department. But when she is seduced by the strangely magnetic Rafe, a graduate student in psychology, Will becomes concerned. Meanwhile, Sergeant Augustino of the NYPD thinks he has a lead on a long-missing child molester, and will stop at nothing to bring him to justice.

A complicated web of horror, seduction, and betrayal, Reprisal is a gripping glimpse into the mind of the ultimate evil in the tradition of The Exorcist.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2010-2019, 2011, Horror, Novels in Series, Novels Set in Fictional Places, Piedmont, Wilson, F. Paul

Wille Thompson. Scratch Golfer. Hickory, NC: Mainland Press, 2008.

Webster (Web) Daniels’ life is a little down in the dumps lately; everything, from his advertising job to his golf game is a bit off. When the newest hire at Hay/Biggs/Pender Advertising, Richards Thomas III, is about to land the huge $20 million account of Ichi-ban Golf, Web finds himself employing the help of a new found ‘friend’ and his special golf balls. Aristotle Mann recently joined Web’s country club as the new golf pro. Aristotle brings with him some unique teaching tools, most of all golf balls that assure the player a par for the course. Once the rivalry between Web and Richards inevitably boils over, everything is left to the outcome of a winner-takes-all game of golf. Web requests the assistance of Aristotle and his magic golf balls to tip the odds in his favor. Of course this type of golf ball does not come at a small price: Web soon learns just how much his win will cost. It seems this time the Devil stopped off in Charlotte on his way down to Georgia.

Check this title’s availability in the UNC-Chapel Hill Library catalog.

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Filed under 2000-2009, 2008, Humor, Mecklenburg, Piedmont, Thompson, Wille