"I was so excited when I saw my kindle at 6am and AMHERST where there. I can't wait, I begin to read then and there until finished. Ripley, never seized to amaze me. This book is the "Cherry" of the Pie. It's all action, hurt, good byes, vengeance and the best...GHOSTS, lots of them. The characters and plots are better and better they grown up in Ripley's mind and hands...you need to read this book and the whole Berkley Street Series."-Reader
"I will miss Shane very much! He's become a part of my family, will hate to miss his 'I Gotta Save The World' attitude. This book was a good ending and brought some stuff together." -Maureen
"Love these people. Shane, Frank, Courtney, the bit players and of course Shane's ghost family. This is a story line that could go on forever but you know has to end someday. Just not now."-Reader
"Loved it, as always. Sad to hear we won't be ghost hunting with Shane any more. But I'm sure you will find some other spooks to keep us terrorized. IN A GOOD WAY."-Reader
"Love this series! I look forward to when he has new releases. I just wish he would write more books." -Reader
"Ron Ripley is a fantastic writer. All his characters are believable and these books are hard to put down, yet you don't want the story to end. Can't wait for more of our favorite characters! Every book I've read from this writer so far have been great!" -Nancy
"I've read all 9 books and l love each and every one of them...I will continue to read everything Mr Ripley writes, he's awesome." -Reader
"If you like ghosts stories, then you'll love this series. Shane is a strong bad-ass character with friends who are almost as good as he is." -Reader
"I absolutely love Shane Ryan and his housemates! I'm afraid this is going to be the end of their adventure and I have to honestly say that I'm not ready! I would recommend this series to anyone and everyone who asks." -Cindy C.
From the Inside Flap
The whole trail had an air of mystery to it, and it thrilled Madison. There was no mystery in her marriage, no excitement. Nothing thrilling at her workplace. She had even considered a membership with the Ashley Madison website, in spite of the security risks attached to a site dedicated to extramarital affairs. In the end, with the pros outweighing the cons, she had decided against it.
So Madison was left with the trails.
She adjusted the straps on her backpack as she came to a fork in the path and stopped. The trail to the right showed more use, the dirt packed down and the branches of a few bushes broken and pushed back.
On the left, Madison saw the complete opposite.
The trail was faint, almost as if it hadn't been used in years. Not even the prints of animals marred the loose earth.
Left it is, she thought, and followed it.
For nearly an hour, she moved along the trail as it skirted granite boulders and ran along streambeds. When the path dipped down she slowed her pace, careful not to twist an ankle. She had injured herself in the past on a lone hike, and the return trip had been horrifically painful.
Madison looked around as the trail leveled out and widened. The trees were farther and farther away from the sides of the path, and the underbrush faded away. Soon it disappeared altogether, but within twenty feet, it was replaced with thick, twisted brambles. Ahead of her, a dark shape caught her eye and Madison paused to look at it and get a drink of water.
A huge, flowering chestnut tree towered at the end of a small clearing. It was massive, perhaps a hundred feet tall and without a doubt, the largest she had ever seen. Unable to take her eyes off it, Madison walked towards the tree.
Soon she found her way blocked by the brambles. Madison ignored them, pushing her way through even as the long, sharp thorns pierced her skin and snagged her clothes. Around her the forest darkened, the long boughs of the chestnut blocking out the sun. A gray twilight wrapped around her and it seemed as though the brambles pushed in closer with each drop of blood she spilled.
Then she was through them, stumbling into a small burial ground.
The grave markers were old. Tall, thin pieces of slate with arched tops and images of death carved into them. There were only twenty or thirty of them, standing upright in perfect order. Dead grass clung to the earth around each stone, and beyond the markers was a house.
The building consisted of a single floor, the roof sagging in the middle and a large, brick chimney protruding from the center. Heavy shutters hung on the windows flanking either side of the doorway, which lacked any sort of door.
And all of it was beneath the tree's tremendous limbs. An entire world separate from the rest of New Hampshire.
Madison smiled, a warm, joyous feeling wrapping around her. It was then that she noticed the little boy. He sat on a rock by the doorway. His face was cherubic and his hair was pulled back in a small ponytail. The boy's clothes looked handmade, and they were cut in a fashion Madison had only seen in history books about the early New England colonists. He seemed to be somewhere between eight and ten years of age, and he smiled at her when their eyes met.
Several of his teeth were missing, which gave him an even more endearing appearance.
"Hello," he said, waving at her.
"Hello," Madison replied, offering a little wave.
"Are you on your way to meeting?" the boy inquired.
"Meeting?" she asked, confused.
"To town," the boy said, grinning. "Are you going into town?
"No," Madison answered. "I'm just out walking."
"Ah," the boy said, nodding.
In a dull, absent way Madison understood she couldn't look away from the child. He commanded all of her attention.
And she was fine with that, smiling at him.
He smiled back.
"What's your name?" he asked, the gentlest of lisps in his pronunciation.
"Madison," she answered.
"Would you like to know my name?" he said.
"I am Samson," the boy said, his lips hardly moving as he spoke. His eyes narrowed and for the briefest of moments, there was a cruel glint to them.
Then it was gone and Madison knew it had been some sort of twist of the light.
"Would you sit with me?" Samson asked. "My mother has been gone a long, long time."
Madison nodded, choking back a sob at the idea of the beautiful boy being alone and without his mother. A faint memory of her own child tugged at her, but it wasn't enough to stop her from entering the burial ground.
The air vibrated as she stepped past the first headstones, the slate shimmering on the edges of her vision.
Samson's smile broadened and he clapped his hands with enthusiasm.
The joyous look on his face quickened her step, and in a few heartbeats, she stood before him. Madison stared down at him, her heart pounding in her chest.
"Will you sit with me?" he asked.
Madison sat on the ground, folding her legs under her. A hard object pushed into her thigh and she reached down, pulling it out from beneath her. It was a bone, nearly a foot in length and yellow with age.
"You could throw that inside, along with the others," Samson said, nodding towards the doorway.
Madison did so, the bone vanishing into the darkness and landing with a clatter. It sounded as though it had struck a pile of the same.
At the noise Samson laughed, clapping his hands again as he fixed an intense stare upon her. Smiling, the little boy leaned forward and said, "Are you excited to sit with me?"
"Yes," Madison replied, her own voice sounding distant in her ears. Then she asked, "Are you excited?"
"Oh, yes," he said with sudden, mock seriousness. "And do you want to know why?"
Madison gave a nod.
"Because," Samson whispered, "I've been alone for an awfully long time."