May 15, 2014

The Feasts of Saint Anne by @robertstava

The Feasts of Saint Anne: A Hudson River Horror Story

Author: Robert J. Stava
Publisher: Deathwatch Books

Welcome back to the village of Wyvern Falls, here along the Hudson in that sleepy region with the witching influence in the air. This second novel in the 'Hudson Horror Series', 'The Feast of Saint Anne' brings you not one but four terrifying tales of the supernatural set in their yearly carnival:
In "The Red Baron's Daughter" two boys get more history than they bargained for when a Fortune Teller draws them into the web of a monster with its origins in the deadly skies of the Western Front, circa 1918.

With 'The Lonely Dancers' an upcoming band finally show up for their gig - thirty years after they were killed in a tragic accident. Will local musician Nick Carr unravel this murder mystery or is he doomed to relive their tale?

"Lorenzo King and the Dunderberg Imp" takes a new spin on an old Washington Irving classic when a failing New York media hound finds himself in the worst, and deadliest, assignment of his life. But can he outwit this much nastier version of Irving's river goblin and show everyone who the King really is?

And in the final tale, "Hey Dummy!" local Art Director Jim Franks and his girlfriend cross paths with what appears to be an old-fashioned vaudeville act. Only neither ventriloquist nor dummy are what they seem and the answer to their awful secret lies over sixty years in the past with a New Guinea witch doctor.

"The Feast of Saint Anne" is my first foray into the author's work and I'm impressed. The second entry in the 'Hudson Horror Series' features for tales all based around the small town of Wyvern Falls and the yearly carnival. At a glance this quaint town seems picturesque, but behind the facade lies sinister forces.

The Red Baron's Daughter
"He pulled the Mauser out of its holster, unclicked the safety and chambered the first round. It still felt old and ugly and heavy in his hand."

The first tale oozes the youthful energy of childhood. But things aren't so happy, when a group of kids visit the fortune teller and unleash an ancient nemesis that is set on consuming them. Detective Easton is soon called out of retirement to help the local authorities with a missing child. His revelations send him face to face with a force of evil never experienced before.

"Hissing like snakes, unblinking eyes the color of spoiled eggs."

The Lonely Dancers
"All that remained were pieces of old furniture. Each with an episode, a story. Now mute and lifeless."

Nick is in a funk. Just out of a relationship, he struggles over his ex and living up to his father's expectations. At the carnival, he is blown away by a band called 'The Lonely Dancers'. The night is soon ruined by his ex's new boyfriend. The next day he spies a guitar in the window of the pawn shop. It's eerily similar to that used by the band and he knows he must own it. Upon the acquisition of the guitar he is plunged head first into the life of a rockstar filled with love, sex, and danger.

Mr. Stava's prose is lavish and haunting throughout embedding the reader deep into the surroundings of Wyvern Falls. The characters he creates within the stories come to life and become your friends or horrific foes. "The Red Baron's Daughter" and "The Lonely Dancers" are my favorite tales. The other stories are a good read, but the first two really stayed with me.

One major aspect that I love is the author's decision to have characters from the different stories appear in the other tales as well. It adds to the whole idyllic yet haunted community.

"The Feast of Saint Anne" is an amazing read worth the time. I couldn't get enough of the characters and the small town of Wyvern Falls and read the novel a second time before constructing the review. If you are a fan of great characters and supernatural tales read this now.