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by John Saul

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Random House Publishing Group
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Product dimensions:
4.40(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.30(d)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years



The dark history and dire secrets of a peaceful small town are summoned from the shadows of the past. Unholy forces are stirred from long slumber to monstrous new life. And two young misfits discover the chilling art of turning persecution into retribution. With these eerie ingredients, bestselling master John Saul once again works his unique brand of sinister magic to conjure an unforgettable tale of unspeakable terror.

For most of her young life, thirteen-year-old Angel Sullivan has been on the outside looking in, enduring the taunts of cruel schoolmates and the angry abuse of a bitter father. Then Angel’s family moves to the quaint town of Roundtree, Massachusetts—where a charming home is available, a promising job awaits Angel’s unemployed father, and most of all, the chance to make a new start beckons to the shy, hopeful teenager. But when she is shunned by her new classmates, Angel falls deeper into despair. Until she meets Seth Baker, a fellow outcast—and a fateful kinship is forged.

It’s Seth who tells Angel the unspoken truth about the legacy of murder that hangs over her family’s home—and the whispered rumors that something supernatural still dwells there. Uncertain whether the stories are true, and desperate to escape the torment of their daily lives, Angel and Seth devote themselves to contacting whatever restless soul haunts the dark recesses of Black Creek Crossing. But once they have begun, there is no turning back.

Guided by an anguished and vengeful spirit, they uncover the shocking events and centuries-old horrors that lay buried beneath the placid veneer of Roundtree. And along with the ghastly revelations comes a terrifying power—one that feeds upon the rage of the victimized, turning the basest impulses and most dangerous desires into devastating weapons. Now, the closer Angel and Seth are pushed toward the edge by their tormentors, the deeper they descend into the maelstrom of dark forces they’ve unleashed . . . and the more unspeakable the hour of reckoning will be.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
With more than 30 books under his belt, veteran suspense novelist Saul is back with a horror novel featuring witchcraft, teen revenge and a haunted house. Angel Sullivan, a plain-looking 14-year-old who never fits in, gets a chance for a fresh start when her family moves into the plush community of Roundtree. Myra, her obsessively religious mother, and Marty, her lazy, alcoholic father, buy a house on Black Creek Crossing, even though the place is rumored to be haunted. Soon after they settle in, a black cat mysteriously appears out of thin air, smoke from a nonexistent fire fills the house and a girl's face appears in the darkness, reflected in a mirror. Meanwhile, Angel, with the help of another school outcast, Seth Baker, begins to investigate the history of the house. They discover an ancient book of spells that may have belonged to the house's original owners, members of a Salem-like community of witches, and the teens proceed to cast spells on the bullies who torment them. But the sinister forces inhabiting the house are just biding their time until they turn their malice on Angel and Seth. Saul crafts a few passable scenes-the potions Angel and Seth concoct work in clever ways-but the chills are few and far between in this lackluster, paint-by-the-numbers horror tale. (Mar. 16) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

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    Read an Excerpt


    Chapter 1

    As the last bell of the day rang, angel sullivan sat quietly in her seat in the last row of Mr. English's room and waited for her classmates to disappear before she even started stowing her books in her backpack. Finally, when even the chatter in the corridor outside the room had died down, she stood up to pull on her jacket.

    "You okay, Angel?" the teacher asked, peering worriedly at her from behind his desk.

    Okay? she repeated silently to herself. How could she be okay after what had happened this morning? And if Mr. English didn't know what was wrong, how was she going to explain it to him? After all, it had happened right there during the first period, just before the bell sounded, when Mr. English asked the class if they wanted to sing "Happy Birthday" to her. "Happy Birthday," like it was still third grade! Didn't he know that none of her classmates even spoke to her except to say mean things? So there she'd sat, in her seat in the last row, her face burning with embarrassment as a horrible silence fell over the room and half the class turned to stare at her. The only thing that saved her from bursting into tears of humiliation was that the bell had rung. Then everyone rushed for the door.

    And now Mr. English wanted to know if she was okay?

    Biting her lip but saying nothing, she hurried toward the door and the safety of the corridor beyond, which with any luck would now be empty.


    She heard Mr. English, but was already out of the room, the door swinging shut behind her.

    Angel. What kind of name was Angel?

    For a long time-well, maybe not all that long, but for a while, anyway-she had thought it was a wonderful name, maybe the most wonderful name in the world. Even now, memories of phrases from when she was barely more than a baby echoed softly in her mind.

    Daddy's little Angel.

    Mommy's little Angel.

    Grammy's perfect little Angel.

    It had been Grammy who gave her the very first Halloween costume she could remember. It was a white dress that Angel was certain had been made of satin but her mother insisted was only cheap muslin. But it didn't matter, because it had white sequins sewn all over it that glittered even when she was standing as still as she possibly could. On the back of the dress there were two wings Grammy had made of papier-mГўchГ© and then covered with white feathers.

    "I've been saving them ever since you were born," Grammy had told her as she carefully fitted the wings onto her tiny three-year-old shoulders. "Some people might tell you they're only seagull feathers, but don't you believe them."

    "But if they didn't come from seagulls, where did they come from?"Angel had asked.

    "Angels," Grammy told her, looking deep into her eyes. "Angels just like you. They come to me when I dream, and leave feathers on my pillow. Feathers from real angels for my own perfect little Angel."

    Angel still had those wings, but they no longer hung on the wall of her room, as they once had. Now they were wrapped in tissue paper and packed away in an old hat box she'd found in the basement of the house they lived in when she was nine, and even though her mother thought they should be thrown away, Angel knew they never would be. They were all she had to remind her of Grammy, who died a little while after that wonderful Halloween when she'd worn the angel costume, and Grammy held her hand and led her up to the porches decorated with jack-o-lanterns. Angel remembered being too shy to knock on the doors herself, and too terrified of the strangers who answered the doors to call out "Trick or treat," so Grammy had done that for her too.

    Then, even before all her Halloween candy was gone, Grammy had died.

    And she had been alone ever since, with only the wonderful feathered wings to remember her grandmother by.

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