John Connolly delivers an impressive thriller, which I found almost impossible to put down after jumping into its exquisitely elaborated plot. He switches back and forth between the past and the present with ease, demonstrating his skills. Dutch Island is situated at a one and a half hour ferry ride from Portland, and it has been the setting of mysterious and unsettling events throughout its history. This is the setting for the marvelous story presented by Connolly.
In the late seventeenth century Indians consistently raided the various islands in the area outside of what is known today as Portland, pushing the white settlers away. But in 1691 thirty individuals arrived to Dutch Island, which at the time was also known as Sanctuary, and decided to give it a try. Bauer, one of the men that formed part of the group, was justly accused of attempting to rape another man's wife. When he asked his own wife for shelter against his pursuers she did not comply and he was captured. However, he was able to escape and he returned years later with renegade Indians as his "hired help" bringing mayhem to the village. After the horrible events that developed in the island, the ghosts of the dead were left behind to cohabitate with the living. Usually, they do not interact much with humans, but now something is growing, and some people in the island can feel it.
Connolly creates interesting and well-developed characters, like the giant Joe Dupree, seven feet two inches and three hundred and sixty pounds, who is in charge of the police department in Dutch Island. He is courting Marianne, a woman who has some secrets in store, but he also has some secrets of his own. Moloch is sitting in jail awaiting his forced appearance before the Grand Jury, and knowing that when that happens he will be facing charges that deserve the capital punishment. When he sleeps, he has disturbing dreams, in which he leads a gang of renegade Indians into an island in search for his wife who had betrayed him. Finally, there are a couple of other characters that add flavor to the mix: Jack, a painter with little talent, but whose paintings evolve after he is done with them, and Richie, a twenty-five-year-old "kid" who has the ability to see unnatural events unfold.
It is reinvigorating to find authors that besides creating exciting stories that keep you reading all night, possess the gift of writing. This is the case of John Connolly, who not only leads us towards the end of the story with a fast-paced plot full of suspense, but who also knows how to make us enjoy the ride to get there.