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Ten miles off the New England coast, the Isles of Shoals have fascinated historians and geologists for hundreds of years. Surrounded by treacherous underwater ledges and unpredictable currents, the grouping of nine tiny islands is rich in folklore and mythology. But the Shoals also hold a deadly secret. Something has come to roost there, a force neither living nor dead, a power without conscience or remorse. And now, three hundred years after its first awakening, as a line of lethal tropical storms marches steadily up the eastern seaboard, it is about to rise again.
Feeding on weakness and desperation, and fueled by the fury of the natural elements, its power can already be felt on the mainland, as it begins to draw a handful of unwilling, unknowing victims to the Shoals, searching for the perfect human host . . .
Lucas Cantrell is a man with a unique and frightening talent. In the same way that a dowsing rod can locate an underground spring, he has the ability to divine the location of a dead body. Contracted by law enforcement agencies throughout the country to help find the bodies of murder victims, Lucas has no love for his skill, but he understands the sense of closure it gives to the families of the people he finds. When he’s recruited to aid in the search of a serial killer’s property in New Hampshire, his gift becomes a curse. His abilities lead him on a journey into his own past, to a horrible incident from his childhood that may form a direct link to the killer himself.
Each night, at precisely 11:11, Janis Bower is wrenched from her own reality and plunged into a terrifying world of screaming voices and nightmarish imagery, a world where an unspeakable creature is hunting for her. Emerging from these fugues with no memory of what she’s done, Janis discovers that the visions are linked to her childhood. With the help of her twin brother, James—whose memory of their abusive parents is somehow more dependable than her own—she begins to unravel a mystery that began more than twenty years before, drawing closer to a truth so horrifying that even her own sanity is called into doubt. She is forced to confront the traumas of her past—the memories of a failed exorcism and a ghostly childhood presence that has never really gone away—and the certainty that she will do something terrible to her own child if she can’t stop the fugues.
Committed to a psychiatric hospital following his attempted suicide, Alan Curnow struggles to discover the repressed memories that led him to the act. The events surrounding the discovery of his father’s body fourteen months before haunt him in tiny flashes of imagery and sound, a series of waking visions that lure him closer to the truth. Plagued by nightmares and tormented by the crumbling boundaries of his own reality, Alan delves into the scandalous history of the hospital itself, a dark past that has somehow become entwined with his own . . .
We all have our private fears. We each have our individual weaknesses.
And we all have lines we like to tell ourselves we would never cross.
But what if our fears are brought to life against our will?
What if our weaknesses become the only place in which we can discover our secret strengths? And what if the lines we say we will never cross are crossed from the other side, by someone or something that means us harm?
Only then will we know true fear. Only then will we learn that weakness does not mean helplessness. And only then will we cross whatever line we must in order to survive . . .
In the small quarry-town of Glen Forest, New Hampshire, a terrible evil is about to rise again, after centuries of dormancy. It is a spirit without mercy, a creature as old as the world itself, and no modern weapon can defeat it. It is what the ancient Eskimo Indian tribes called the Demon of the Wind, and only one man knows its secrets. His name if John Artarqua, a young Aleut Eskimo who has studied the legends and culture of his people for his entire life. He has never fully believed in the legends, viewing them as just superstition and folklore, but now he is about to come face to face with the truth behind the stories of his youth. Armed with the talismans of the dying shaman of his tribe, John must overcome his own doubt in order to survive….
The Dead Hours
A young boy, standing before his bedroom mirror at the stroke of midnight, on the verge of discovering a terrifying truth; a slouching, ravenous beast, confined to an attic prison, determined to escape; a woman alone in her home during a raging storm, cursed with a gift of premonition; a man on his own in a hospital waiting room, where the darkest secrets of life and death are about to be revealed . . .
These are the horrors that visit us in the dead of night, the terrors that crouch at the back of our darkened closets or in the pit of shadows underneath our beds. These are the feelings of helplessness and fear that ripple our flesh and quicken our heartbeats. They come to us in our most vulnerable moments, when our defenses are at their weakest, and when we least expect them. They come during THE DEAD HOURS.
Readings from the Book of Pain
A man trapped in perpetual darkness, walking a nightmarish landscape as an unseen beast hunts him, drawing ever closer; a heroin-addicted arsonist, questioning the fabric of his own reality, and bent on discovering the true nature of fire; a man of faith, giving his own flesh and blood in his blind determination to prove the existence of God; a living force of darkness and pain, wandering the city streets in its hunger for human suffering....
These are the fears and desires that haunt our dreams, the evil thoughts and deeds that may hide behind every grinning face. These are the worst intentions of man and beast, the depraved psychological wanderings that poison our society and fuel our nightmares. They're out there, waiting for us, watching us. Praying to their masters of fear and terror, practicing their darkest arts in the coldest hours of the night, and whispering the blackest litanies from their unholy Book of Pain.
In the House of Sin
A pair of estranged brothers, with 20 years of bad blood between them, lost in the woods as a deadly storm bears down; a woman alone in her Boston apartment, falling victim to an impossible form of home invasion; an ancient family curse, summoning a beast of ravenous fury to a crumbling southern home....
These are the tales that push us towards the brink of madness, that challenge our strength and our limits, and that make us question the fabric of our own reality. They are the stories than can only be told in hushed whispers, in the deepest watches of the night, and only In The House Of Sin . . .
VICES contains six novellas of horror and suspense, each exploring a different facet of obsession and addiction. Each story stands on its own as a unique piece, but all combine into a larger tapestry that gives a much deeper picture of fear and human darkness.