The sleepy town of Tuonela, Wisconsin, is known for one thing: the killer who stalked its streets one hundred years ago, drinking the blood of his victims. And when the drained corpse of a young girl is found, the citizens fear their past has risen from the grave–and point their fingers at one man….
Evan Stroud can never see the light of day. The prisoner of a strange and terrible disease, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a “vampire”–until the son he never knew he had shows up in Tuonela and is drawn into its depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld. Then Evan must rely on coroner Rachel Burton, his childhood friend, for help. But the evil that they face is powerful and elusive and about to take them to the very brink of madness.
To call this book one of the strangest books I have read in awhile is saying a lot especially with my tendency to read paranormal books. But it is strange in a good way. Not sure what I would classify it as-thriller/mystery/suspense/romance/paranormal? Or all of the above? There’s a little bit of some of these descriptions and a lot of some of the others.
Graham Yates is fifteen and living the life of an abused kid. His mother drives him from Arizona to Wisconsin and literally drops him at the curb of his father’s house. Having never met his father, Graham is scared and upset but at the same time happy to be free of his crazy mother. Evan Stroud is the town freak. Some people think he is a vampire. He has a disease that causes him to be allergic to the sun and any kind of bright light. Upon meeting Graham he tells him that he is not his father and proceeds with DNA testing. Rachel Burton is both the towns coroner and the medical examiner. And she sees dead people but only in Tuonela.. Her father is the town sheriff. She was best friends with Evan as a child and had just recently moved back from LA after being gone for years. Graham, faced with child services, runs away, gets found and finally settles in at Evan’s house. Sheriff Burton doesn’t trust that Graham won’t run again so he gets Rachel to drive him home from school everyday which puts her back in touch with Evan for the first time in seventeen years. It’s like she never left between them. Meanwhile, women’s bodies are being found drained of blood. People in town are of course suspicious of Evan.
The town of Tuonela has a history of terror and bloodshed. A hundred years before a man(or vampire) had killed many of the children of the town. The people feel the town is cursed so they all moved five miles away leaving old Tuonela to ruin. Now the people want to know if a monster has reawakened or if Evan is now the monster. The people call the monster the Pale Immortal. The atmosphere of the town and old Tuonela is downright spooky at times.
The story is told from many points of view which when a story is this complicated is a very good thing. There is really a lot going on in this book and is definitely not a simple story. I feel like I have barely touched on any of it. Ms. Frasier definitely knows how to write a good story. Her characters are so well crafted and interesting that the reader is immediately drawn in to the story. For me it was another one of those one day quick reads. An author note at the beginning of the book tells us that the town really does exist. After reading the note, I am not sure if she was just adding to the mystique of the story or if in fact the town does exist. I am going with mystique. If you like spooky stories this could be the book for you. Book 2 (of 2) is titled Garden of Darkness and is available now which is a great because I really hate having to wait for sequels to books this good. I gave it 4.5 stars.