At the heart of this excellent story is a dilemma. The great spiritual one bequeathed and entrusted to us the world as we know it, and invited us to treat with respect and not to destroy this wonderful gift. The greed and distructful nature of man is forever present and proceeds to demolish that which was given in trust.
Alan Hammerstun and his wife Heather have moved from downtown Manhattan to a quiet suburb in the state of Carolina. Heather has recently suffered two horrific miscarriages, is clinically depressed, and has attempted to end her own life on two occasions. Alan, deeply in love with his wife, is hopeful that this new start will rejuvenate their relationship. What follows is a deeply moving, thought provoking story that invokes elements of horror, spiritualism, and human greed creating a tight and compulsive read challenging the readers intelligence from the opening scenes.
There is a wonderful list of characters; Hank Gerski, Don Probst and Gary Jones neighbours with a secret to keep aided and abetted by the somewhat unlikeable Sheriff Hearn Landry. In addition there is the murderous intentions of Owen Moreland and the spiritualistic presence of "George Young Calf Ribs" At the centre of this unfolding drama is Cradle Lake...cold and inviting, invigorating yet destructive in the extreme...."You have no concept of what the lake is capable of. There's a power here, a certain strength. And it's not just in the lake but in the land itself. All around us"
Hank Gerski warns Alan of the dangers of Cradle Lake explaining that the healing process of the water contains evil intentions and is best left alone. An incident happens when young Cory Morris is in a serious collision with a car and rather than request the assistance of an ambulance Cory is lifted and carried to Cradle Lake. where he is miraculously healed. All the residents wish to keep the rest of the world ignorant of the Lake's healing powers but Alan realizes there is a way that he can use the power of Cradle Lake to strengthen his resolve and more importantly bring back life to his beautiful Heather....but a price will have to be paid.
Owen Moreland butchered his wife Sophie "put the barrel of a pump-action Winchester to the center of Sophie's forehead and spread her brains along the front hallway of their home" before inserting a toe in his shotgun and very efficiently ending his own life. On visiting the scene of this atrocity Alan sees the words "Devil's Stone" painted on the walls and his curiosity into the origin of these words leads him on a journey where he meets the spiritual "George Young Calf Ribs" and begins to discover and understand the true meaning and horror of Cradle Lake and now appreciates the impact this will have on his life unless he adheres to and obeys the advice and warnings from "George Young Calf Ribs"...."It has become a bad place. His tone was simple, matter-of-fact. It no longer hides and offers rejuvenation to those worthy enough to find it. Now it calls to whoever is careless enough to seek it out. That is its revenge on the ones who have soured its waters and poisoned its land"...."Leave that house immediately" he told him. "Burn it to the ground so no one else can live there after you. Do it before it's too late."
This is not a happy book but a thoughtful, sad and intelligent read of one mans journey to find some closure and redemption and to put an end to the sadness that permeates his life. It is amazingly poetic in it's language and visionary in the story that it tells. It is a book that should be read by all, an amazing achievement by Ronald Malfi it comes from me to you with the highest recommendation.