Small Press Bookwatch: March 2016 James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief Midwest Book Review 278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alxeander Romines Sunbury Press 50 West Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055 9781620066461, $16.95, PB, 284pp,
tkotc_fcSynopsis: No evil can remain buried forever, as disgraced journalist Thomas Brooks discovers when a wave of death grips the rural Kentucky town of Gray Hollow in terror. Following a very public humiliation, Thomas is looking for a story to get him back on the map - and free of the small town newspaper where he serves out his exile. The apparent murder of a stranger seems to be just what the opportunistic reporter needs, until he discovers the death is merely the start of something bigger. Also investigating the murder is Sheriff Jezebel Woods, who doesn't approve of Thomas' sensationalist intentions. Mounting deaths force the pair to set aside their differences to confront a force that threatens to destroy the entire town.
At the center of the mystery is the disappearance of a boy named Salem Alistair, who designed a series of grotesque scarecrows for his parents' farm - scarecrows that are turning up at each subsequent crime scene. Thomas begins to doubt his uneasy alliance with the sheriff when he realizes Jezebel has her own secret history with Salem Alistair. Thomas and Jezebel are completely unprepared to face the supernatural force at odds with Gray Hollow. As the killings continue, and the town slowly begins to yield its dark secrets, the truth will pit Thomas and Jezebel on a collision course with true evil.
Critique: A compelling and entertaining read from cover to cover, "The Keeper of the Crows" is a deftly crafted novel that reveals author Kyle Romines as a master of the genre. Very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of mystery buffs that "The Keeper of the Crows" is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).