Wednesday, November 19, 2008

"Dark Rain"

Tony Richards is the author of five novels—the first was nominated for a Bram Stoker Award—plus many short stories and articles. His work has appeared in numerous venues, including The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, Cemetery Dance, Asimov's, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and Weird Tales.

He applied the Page 69 Test to his new novel, Dark Rain, and reported the following:
Page 69 of Dark Rain -- my first full-length novel in over a decade, and hopefully the start of a whole series of them -- happens to be one of the most action-packed pages in the entire book. It falls right in the middle of the first action sequence, in fact. A vicious and hard-to-kill creature called the Dralleg -- the servant of an evil magician named Saruak -- has just materialized in the office of the book’s two heroes, Ross Devries and Cass Mallory. And they are desperately trying to fight it off, all weapons blazing.

If you like this kind of stuff, then it’s the perfect introduction. There is plenty more adventure and excitement in Dark Rain, culminating in a final battle on the rooftops above Union Square, and the book has variously been described as ‘fast and fun’ and ‘a one-sitting read.’

But if you’re of a more pensive nature, there’s no need to worry. What I’ve done in Dark Rain, you see, is create a whole new imaginary town, Raine’s Landing, Massachusetts. It might look normal on the surface, but is actually a very strange place indeed. Because way back in the Seventeen Hundreds, the real witches of Salem fled there to escape the trials. They married into the local population, and the place has been imbued with magic -- some of it of the dark kind -- ever since.

And so I introduce the reader to the town, its different neighborhoods, its rich districts and poor ones. And there are some carefully-drawn portraits of its inhabitants too, ranging from more rational ones like Judge Samuel Levin to bizarre characters who’ve been driven insane to varying degrees by their own magic -- Dr. Lehman Willets and the manic Woodard Raine.

There’s something to enjoy on every level, in other words. The next book in the series -- Night of Demons -- is due out next year.
Browse inside Dark Rain, and learn more about the book and author at Tony Richards' website and blog.

Check out the complete list of books in the Page 69 Test Series.

--Marshal Zeringue