Goodreads.com Description: “From the witch trials of centuries past, an evil awakens.
Inspired by Actual Events
Excerpt from the Journal of Clayton Stone – 1692
She was examined today without torture at Shadow Cove township on the charge of witchcraft. She said she was wholly innocent of the crime and has never in life renounced God. I watched as they brought her out. A poor, sickly thing, worn by her time behind the walls of her prison. Her bared feet and hands bound in leather, her clothing tattered to that of ruin. Despite such condition, her head was held high, her eyes meeting those of her accusers. She still refuses to provide her name so we remain unable to search baptismal records, nor has her family stepped forward to claim her as their own. We have no reason to believe she is anything but an orphaned child. I find myself unable to look at her directly in the moments preceding her trial. She is watching me though; with eyes of the deepest blue, she is watching me.
Thad McAlister, Rise of the Witch
When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft.
But was it really fiction?
He inadvertently opened a door, one that would soon jeopardize the lives of his family.
She wants to come back.
At home, his wife struggles to keep their family alive. Secretly wondering if she caused it all…a deal she made long ago. A deal with the Forsaken.”
About the Author
As a child I was always told the dark could not hurt me, that the shadows creeping in the corners of my room were nothing more than just that, shadows. The sounds nothing more than the settling of our old home, creaking as it found comfort in the earth only to move again when it became restless, if ever so slightly. I would never sleep without closing the closet door, oh no; the door had to be shut tight. The darkness lurking inside needed to be held at bay, the whispers silenced. Rest would only come after I checked under the bed at least twice and quickly wrapped myself in the safety of the sheets (which no monster could penetrate), pulling them tight over my head.
I would never go down to the basement.
I had seen enough movies to know better, I had read enough stories to know what happens to little boys who wandered off into dark, dismal places alone. And there were stories, so many stories.
Reading was my sanctuary, a place where I could disappear for hours at a time, lost in the pages of a good book. It didn’t take long before I felt the urge to create my own.
I first began to write as a child, spinning tales of ghosts and gremlins, mystical places and people. For most of us, that’s where it begins—as children we have such wonderful imaginations, some of us have simply found it hard to grow up. I’ve spent countless hours trying to explain to friends and family why I enjoy it, why I would rather lock myself in a quiet little room and put pen to paper for hours at a time than throw around a baseball or simply watch television. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes I want to do just that, sometimes I wish for it, but even then the need to write is always there in the back of my mind, the characters are impatiently tapping their feet, waiting their turn, wanting to be heard. I wake in the middle of the night and reach for the pad beside my bed, sometimes scrawling page after page of their words, their lives. Then they’re quiet, if only for a little while. To stop would mean madness, or even worse—the calm, numbing sanity I see in others as they slip through the day without purpose. They don’t know what it’s like, they don’t understand. Something as simple as a pencil can open the door to a new world, can create life or experience death. Writing can take you to places you’ve never been, introduce you to people you’ve never met, take you back to when you first saw those shadows in your room, when you first heard the sounds mumbling ever so softly from your closet, and it can show you what uttered them. It can scare the hell out of you, and that’s when you know it’s good.
Jonathan Dylan Barker holds a B.A. in English from Beaumont University and currently lives in Shadow Cove, Massachusetts where he is hard at work on his latest novel.
Find J.D. online:
I received an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
For Mature Readers: 18+
If you read J.D.’s bio and got the chills, wait until you read this book!
Forsaken was the creepiest, freakiest story I’ve read in a LONG time. Seriously, the book gave me chills. That sensation didn’t leave when I clicked off my e-reader. The image on the last page gave me one of those shocking scares that lingers for a while.
Barker’s story was actually the second book I’ve read this year by a male author with similar qualities: 1) the main character is a man who is also an author, 2) the character had a wife with two children of the same sex (in this book, the second child had yet to be born), and 3) the setting is a small town. This book, however, was off the scale creepy.
Forsaken was a page turner focused on a witch trial in 1692. The author wrote her story and now strange, inexplicable things are happening to him and his family. Sorry, I can’t give you more than that without spoiling the story. And, this book deserves to be read without spoilage.
Personally, this is one of those stories that would make a good scary movie. There are witches, rituals, minions (not the nice ones), and a lot of freaky crap happening. Barker writes with such vivid details making the characters and scenery leap off the page.
The story, itself, was very unique and well-crafted. I’ve read my share of witch stories and I’ve even read about a few witch trials (I was actually fascinated by them in junior high). Never had I read anything where nightmares of the main characters came true. It was a story within a story.
And, the characters were so well-developed. Barker’s writing delivered thoroughly fleshed out personas. I felt I understood their motivations, their fears, and even their hopes.
I’m a big fan of Rod Serling’s “Twilight Zone”, and this story was a modern version on steroids! I highly suggest not reading this book before bedtime. I did and always had to pick up something else to clear my mind before turning off the lights.
I loved the creep out factor in Barker’s book and can’t wait to read more by him.
(5 Hands=Excellent; 4 Hands=Pretty Good; 3 Hands=Good)