Book tip: "Before the Devil Fell," Neil Olson
Before the Devil Fell
A year or so ago, all of the crones in Salem gathered together at a massive "toil 'n' trouble" fest to see if they could for chrissake conjure someone to write a fresh take on New England witchcraft thriller. Out of the cauldron popped the massively capable Neil Olson (author of the excellent "The Black Painting"), who with "Before the Devil Fell" fulfilled the coven's requirements and more. When college prof Will Conner returns to his Massachusetts hometown to care for his ailing mom, a host of horrific memories begin to manifest themselves. Was the community's little spirit circle — in which mom was a signicant force — moving beyond healing medicines and quaint folklore into attempts to summon dark powers? And why are Will's boyhood recollections of a tragic night so fractured? Is he somehow partially culpable? And how much is his childhood crush, Samantha, still living in her creepy childhood home, tethered to these turbulent events from the past?