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The dead path : a novel
Stephen M. Irwin
Adult Fiction IRWIN

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Australian author Irwin's impressive debut, a supernatural thriller, evokes a world full of death and spirits to which we are, mercifully, oblivious. Since the night of his wife's death, Nicholas Close has been cursed with second sight to see ghosts re-enacting the final moments before their own often violent deaths. These disconcerting visions drive Nicholas back to his family home in Tallong, Australia, where, instead of finding comfort, he sees the ghost of a childhood playmate replay the murder that almost took Nicholas's life instead. Clues from other local murders and data gleaned from his father's books of occult lore apprise Nicholas of ancient unhallowed traditions still being practiced in the forest near his home-and of malignant powers attempting to reassert a balance that was upset when Nicholas escaped death. Irwin writes in a lyrical style that expresses both the poignancy of Nicholas's distressing supernatural experiences and the mood of horror those experiences conjure. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Suffering from the recent death of his wife and haunted by the images of ghosts reliving their deaths over and over, Nicholas Close returns from London to his childhood home in Australia. But his steps are dogged by murders reminiscent of those that happened when he was a boy. Nicholas's childhood and adult fears collide as he races to uncover the evil stalking his hometown and family. VERDICT Exploring the dark corners where childhood nightmares become adult terror, this debut novel by an Australian filmmaker and screenwriter is a ghost story to please murder mystery and horror fans alike, as well as John Saul and Peter Straub fans. Memorable characters, beautifully crafted writing, and an adept hand at storytelling will have readers begging for Irwin's next book. Highly recommended. [This was published in Britain to great acclaim under the title The Darkening.-Ed.]-Colleen S. Harris, Univ. of Tennessee at Chattanooga Libs. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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main characters Nicholas Close
Able to see ghosts since the death of his wife; returns to his childhood home; sees the ghost of a childhood friend replay the murder that almost took Nicholas's life; discovers ancient traditons still being practiced in the forest near his home; uncovers a malignant power attempting to create a balance that Nicholas upset when he escaped death.

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