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Devil's Night: A Gripping Novel of Supernatural Suspense (Penny Wright) Paperback – March 18, 2021
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Supernatural suspense that'll have you breathlessly turning pages, perfect for fans of Home Before Dark, The Sun Down Motel, and Heather Graham's Krewe of Hunters series.
A haunted ghost town. A gifted medium. A truth she should’ve left buried.
Every summer, revelers sneak into the abandoned town of Eden, Colorado, to celebrate an infamous crime: the Devil's Night Massacre, committed over a century ago by an outlaw nicknamed Bloody Marian. Penny Wright knows the gruesome legends better than most. She’s seen the ghosts that haunt the ruins firsthand, and she shares a history with Eden that she hoped to escape.
Now it’s Penny's job, funded by a corporate sponsor, to make this Devil’s Night the biggest ever. When she returns home for the first time in years, she must face not only her family but Matthew Larsen—once the boy she loved, now the man who broke her heart.
But before the festival even begins, Penny makes a grisly discovery that forces her to question how much she really knows about Eden’s secrets. As Devil’s Night approaches, the lines between the past and present begin to blur. And for Penny, the real nightmare is only just beginning.
Devil's Night blends a ghost story, a historical mystery, and romantic suspense into a genre-bending page-turner. You won't be able to put it down.
"This story hooked me right from the beginning and did not let go!" Sarah, Goodreads ★★★★★
"From the opening pages to the pulse-pounding conclusion, this book unfolded like a movie, taking you from one chilling scene to the next." Donna, Goodreads ★★★★★
"This book has a lot going for it. Mystery, paranormal, romance, and suspense. I literally did not want to put it down." Katy, Goodreads ★★★★★
"I absolutely devoured this paranormal romance/ghost story, the second ghost story I've read by author A.N. Willis...Some books are just like taking a trip while you're in their pages, and Devil's Night totally immersed me in this small Colorado town with its lavish descriptions." Kat Kinney, author of Dyrwolf
"In Devil's Night, author Willis does a great job combining the paranormal with a strong sense of history and place, and managed to give me a haunting right before bed. She has delivered a book that is engaging on every level... a little whodunnit, a little romance, complete with a scary and vengeful ghost." EG Radcliff, author of The Hidden Prince
"It's a feat for a novel to create likable characters, suspense AND a fascinating historical story line, but Willis does it effortlessly and Devil's Night is an easy, compelling read. Highly recommend this creepy and enjoyable read!" Johanna Garton, author of The Edge of the Map
"This is such a wonderful mix of paranormal, mystery, romance, and suspense! I really loved the characters throughout the story." BreeAnn, blogger at She Just Loves Books
"I absolutely loved this book! The author did a wonderful job of switching from the past and then forward into the present seamlessly. The story kept me interested from beginning to the end. I cannot wait for the next book in this series." Terri, Goodreads ★★★★★
"Loved it! It was a great mash-up of past and present. The way the author managed to link the two different timelines in an ongoing story was just great. I was never bored and just sped my way through the book. The was a unique and fast-paced take on a ghost story." Kim, Goodreads ★★★★★
"A.N. Willis' writing style brings past and present into sharp relief for the reader. Told from multiple points of view and two different time periods, the narrative unfolds in a captivating and all-encompassing way...Though this is a ghost story with all the frightening moments that one would expect, there are also deep human connections that add meat to the story's bones." Mary, Goodreads ★★★★★
"I read an advance copy of Devil's Night, and was super impressed. It's a page-turner with something to say about the position of women in society, both in historical times and now." Carolyn, Goodreads ★★★★★
"From the opening pages to the pulse-pounding conclusion, this book unfolded like a movie, taking you from one chilling scene to the next....This book was peopled with so many flavorful characters that it didn't matter who was at the forefront of the action at any given moment, all of it was thrilling and suspenseful." Donna, Goodreads ★★★★★
From the Author
The Paradise Hotel was just as Penny Wright remembered it: crumbling red brick, warped wood floors. Thick paper peeled in sheets from the walls, revealing moldering lath and plaster beneath. A few windows still held wavy panes of glass.
Linden Hao snapped a photo, her phone aimed at a bullet hole in the wood.
"It's even creepier than I imagined," Linden said.
"But what do you think?" Penny asked.
"Are you kidding? You were right--it's perfect."
Penny nodded, more to reassure herself than to agree. She'd been working on this project for months, but planning from her desk in Los Angeles was nothing like being here in person. This was the first moment that it all felt real.
They stood in the hotel's lobby. All the furniture and opulent fixtures were long gone--maybe pilfered over the decades by visitors who came here to bask in the haunted ambiance.
Penny had been one of them, years ago. But that had been a different life.
Most of the buildings on Eden's Main Street were gutted, rotting, or had fully succumbed to the harsh Colorado winters. But the Paradise had kept a regal sort of beauty, despite its dark history. It was just the place to kick off the festival--assuming they could get all the details finalized in time. But she'd find a way.
"You did good." Linden bumped Penny's shoulder with her fist.
Penny brushed aside her nervousness and smiled. "Hell yeah, I did."
Linden took a hesitant step up the staircase, then came back down. "That doesn't seem stable, does it?"
Linden was five-nine and slender, no more than a hundred twenty pounds, most of that her new Patagonia hiking clothes and heavy Columbia boots. They'd landed in Denver yesterday and stopped for the night, making a pilgrimage to the massive REI to pick up gear before dinner in trendy RiNo. In the morning they'd taken a puddle jumper to Montrose and made the hour-and-a-half drive to Ashton, where they swapped out their rental sedan for the waiting Jeep. Then the final bumpy miles to Eden. Yet despite all that, Linden still looked dewy-cheeked, her black hair long and smooth.
Penny hadn't fared so well. Her plaid cotton button-down no longer smelled fresh. Sweat plastered her bangs to her forehead. Her stomach wouldn't settle, though she'd had no appetite for breakfast. But there was also something exhilarating about being here, back in this place she hadn't set foot in over six years.
"Excuse me, Ms. Hao?" someone said, poking his head through the hotel's entrance.
"Be right there. Hey, Penny? I need to sign some more papers for the contractor."
In just over a week, Eden would be the venue for Sterling PR's biggest event of the year--the launch of a caffeine-laced drink, Dark Energy, for a huge new client. Penny had pitched a three-night music festival culminating on July 17, the 125th anniversary of the notorious Devil's Night Massacre. It was macabre, and it was more than a little crass. But Penny--and more importantly, the client--knew that it would be social media gold.
Would Eden's ghosts make an appearance? Penny had been counting on it. Yet her shoulders were tensed, waiting for the first sign. Ghosts rarely made her nervous. Not anymore. But Eden wasn't just any place.
She walked over to the bar, which was off to the right of the lobby. Here the ceiling lowered, and ancient bottles of cloudy glass still stood on a top shelf. Penny put her hands on the bar, the wood oiled smooth by countless hands and spilled glasses of whiskey. She brushed dust from her fingers against her jeans.
Beyond a carved wooden archway, a single table stood on spindly legs. The dining room. Penny crept closer. A shiver ran up and down her spine as she looked up at the tin ceiling. A gaping, cracked hole showed where the chandelier had been.
She'd never been to this room before. Her last visit to Eden had been at night, and neither she nor her friends had been brave enough to venture this far. Plus, she'd been...preoccupied that night. She'd still managed to get scared out of her wits and do some other stupid things besides.
But she knew the story of what had occurred here. Ernest Fitzhammer, the owner of the Paradise Hotel, had been found hanging from the chandelier. Penny felt a shift in the air. A hum of electricity increasing in frequency. She flinched, imagining the swing of a man's body, listing on a frayed rope.
She was a long way from that eighteen-year-old kid, terrified by what she'd seen in Eden. And she was even further from the five-year-old who'd come to Eden with her dad on Devil's Night. Ghost girl, the other kids had called her.
Something moved in the corner of her vision--the doorway across the room.
It had been a swish of fabric, like a full skirt twirling around legs. A wave of cold moved through her. A chill that began inside of her instead of out.
She crossed the dining room before she realized she'd moved. She looked into the kitchen. Against the wall sat an iron stove, the plaster blackened from soot. A thin chimney ran from the stove into the roof. Someone had replaced the back door with an incongruous modern version, the deadbolt locked.
To the left, a hallway. It led into darkness.
That sense of deep cold remained, that same ever-present hum in the air. Penny backed away as her heart thumped an unsteady beat. The dead had always been clearer to her in Colorado than anywhere else, especially this close to home.
She focused on closing herself off from these sensations, something she'd learned well in the years she'd been away.
Ghosts were not conscious. They had no intent, ill or otherwise. They were trapped in a single moment of their greatest regret or fear, and for someone sensitive like Penny, those impressions could become overwhelming. As soon as the construction crew moved in, the thrum of living people would drown out most of these remnants of the dead.
Of course, Eden would still look like the set of a horror movie. Hopefully, some signs of the haunting would remain. Just enough to give festival-goers the scare they'd be craving.
"Everything okay?" Linden asked.
Penny spun around. Linden stood in the middle of the dining room wearing a hard hat. It was orange and slipped a bit to one side. She started fiddling to adjust it.
"We're both supposed to be wearing these, apparently," Linden said. "Insurance."
"Right." Penny forced a smile. "I'm just soaking in the ambiance."
"The outside shots have been great, but I can't believe we almost missed these details." Linden had made a trip to Eden two months ago for site recon, but Penny hadn't been able to come. Their planning budget was too tight.
Linden pulled out her phone again to take a few more snaps. "What should the caption be?"
Penny swallowed and wrapped her arms around her middle, wishing she could banish the chill. She'd never enjoyed being frightened. To her, ghosts were too real to be funny or exciting. But she wasn't the target audience. Haunted is exactly what we want, she'd said in her pitch. That was the whole point of hosting their event here--Eden's reputation. She needed to capture that creeping sensation, bottle it up and make it into something that would sell.
"This is where it began," Penny said. "Where they found the first bodies."
She pointed at the wall opposite the window. The wallpaper had long since been torn down here, any traces of red gone.
"The word 'Marian' was scrawled there in blood."
Bloody Marian. The butcher of Eden.
Linden pretended to shiver, then smiled mischievously. "I'm in awe of you right now."
Penny swatted her arm. "Shush."
For much of her life, Penny had lived in the shadow of this place. It was past time that she changed the narrative. Reclaimed Eden for herself.
If she did things right, this year's Devil's Night would be one that nobody would ever forget.
- Publisher : Observatory Books (March 18, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 404 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1734359781
- ISBN-13 : 978-1734359787
- Item Weight : 1.15 pounds
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1.01 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,277,859 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Reviewed in the United States on March 24, 2021
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I liked the main character, Penny Wright. She fled her small town because she wanted a career and a life that wouldn't be defined and restricted by a reputation she was saddled with while she was still in grade school. The book examines how parents can push a child into doing things they have a natural gift for, but just because they seem to want to along with it doesn't mean the parent won't be resented for "pushing them into it" later.
Penny's drive to make something of her life, and even her uncertainty over what she wants to do, is admirable. Her conflicts with her father are understandable, though I really like her family. Sometimes, dealing with unresolved issues, while painful, can yield something that makes the pain worthwhile.
Beneath the mystery and supernatural elements, Devil's Night is about how sometimes, leaving where you're from is easier than staying away. As for the dead, sometimes leaving is impossible until there's vengeance.
I was delighted to read a free copy of Devil's Night provided by BookSirens. This review is provided by me, not because of any obligation, but because I really like both of the books I've read in this series! Each can be read separately, in any order, there's no cliffhangers. Angel Eyes, book 2, continues the Wright family's and their friend's stories, and I liked that one just as well!
Will she learn to control this gift? Great story and awesome characters
Although this might sound confusing, the book is very good if you like a scary ghost story, with a bit of romance tucked in .
Penny is such a strong character, and while there were times I wanted to shake some sense into her, I enjoyed her side of the story. I felt so bad for Matthew. At heart, he was a good guy. But he was also human and made a mistake… one that cost him six years with the woman he loved.
I’m eager to see what happens in book 2!
Penny, a reluctant medium, has been plagued all her life by her time as the "ghost girl," the moniker that resulted when her paranormal researcher father and his friends took her out to look for the ghosts of long-abandoned Eden. She'd love to forget about his book and her legacy as a descendant of "Bloody Marian," Eden's notorious murderer. But when Penny's PR firm needs a unique venue in which to launch a client's new product, she suggests throwing a music festival in the ghost town...neglecting to mention her own history with the place.
Now back in the hometown she once fled, Penny has to negotiate her colleagues, her clients, her family, and the boy who broke her heart. Dealing with whatever lingers in Eden should be a breeze by comparison. But Penny doesn't understand her gift as well as she thinks, and as the anniversary of Marian's bloody rampage nears, Penny is about to discover Eden's deadly secrets.