THE BURNING TIME
By JG FAHERTY
Reviewed By Rick Amortis
When a few strangers arrive to the quaint rural town of Hasting Mills something seems terribly amiss. Women have been seemingly committing suicide off the village bridge into the abysmal depths of the creek below. Reverend Cyrus Christian has assumed the position of town preacher while Billy Ray Capshaw adapts to the church’s local handyman. Another drifter is in the midst, one John Root who has created a stir among the locals shacking up with young Danni and her adolescent brother Mitch in the Anderson household under the guise of renovation contractor. Since the arrival of the three strangers the town’s morale and morals begin to unravel at the seams. Will Hasting Mills survive the impending doom that has descended among its citizens or will they crumble to the unholy intent delivered unto them; find out the shocking answers in The Burning Time.
I’ve been reviewing novels and films in the horror genre under a number of sources for just over a year now. For much longer I’ve been a fan of contemporary and commercial fiction through literature and cinema for at least thirty some odd years. I’ve had the distinct honor and thrill of reading two of author Faherty’s previous works The Ghosts of Coronado Bay and The Cemetery Club. Rest assured this writer’s talents only continue to blossom and flourish well beyond what I could have ever anticipated. His work is consistent, forever suspenseful, resourceful captivating. The Burning Time is no exception in this gripping, compelling theme of good versus evil.
The author has a tremendous talent for appeasing the subconscious executing a solid foundation for plot design and character development. His expert blend of dialogue, action and just a hint of exposition lures the reader deep into the story, seemingly with ease. Before one knows it, the readership is several chapters into the tale, infectious imagination forever reeling and unveiling what happens next.
The protagonists and antagonists are believable and their interaction is reflective of people we can relate to. In the carnal rule of creative writing, Faherty pens about what he knows. His knowledge of ancient ritual, spells and black magic is staggering prompting one to ponder if perhaps you may have to think twice before crossing one JG Faherty. His demonstrated comprehension of the occult, religion and spells suspends the audience’s sense of believability enhancing the very real terror that Hasting Mills is a mere symbol in terms of locale and could just as easy unfold in any town, USA. As the residents begin to turn on one another the subtext is reminiscent of master story teller Stephen King’s Needful Things or perhaps Under The Dome. Yet Faherty’s approach is entirely unique and by no stretch of the imagination a lift or carbon copy of another author’s concept.
The subtext of adolescent women, their despair and suicide is no question controversial, yet very real making this tale more sinister and the evil much more formidable.
The pages, chapters and interactions flows well, fluently and offer thrills, chills and spills that would translate wonderfully unto the silver screen. The lead antagonist of Rev. Christian is particularly ominous accentuating the reader’s unease and delivering a powerful conclusion that will resonate long after the final pages are devoured.
A solid recommendation for fans of dark fantasy and religion/satanic based themes, JG Faherty has made a die-hard fan out of this critic.