Harper, Oct 2008, $7.99
There really were witches in Salem and they escaped the burning times by quietly moving into the village of Raine’s Landing. They kept a low profile, but one of them Ragan Farrer was accused by the townsfolk of causing harm to others; she was burned at the stake. Before she died she cursed the town and its people; saying they and their descendents will never leave Raine’s Landing.
In the present the town is hidden from view; anyone who enters leaves forgetting the place exists. Sarauk, a tree spirit inhabits a human body and comes to town and he intends to become ruler of Raine’s Landing. He is not strong enough to take over the entire town yet but as he makes the inhabitants afraid of what he will do, he grows more powerful in a vicious circle. If the trend continues he will soon overpower the townsfolk making them bow to his wishes. Only Ross Devries might be able to neutralize Sarauk, but though he has received information to succeed from allies, his chances remain grim.
This is a modern day gothic urban fantasy that mesmerizes the audience into a one sitting read. The characters make the tale as the reluctant hero must battle overwhelming odds to defeat a 200 proof evil villain. With a strong alternate earth world-building (or at least village building) setting, Tony Roberts provides an exhilarating dark horror thriller.