The nightmare of Wolf Creek starts the night of the last full moon in the summer of 2013, and the close-knit little community will never be the same again. Someone—or something—is murdering the townspeople during each month’s full moon. Incredibly, no one connects the murders to the cycle of the moon. At least, not until fourteen-year-old James Manarro is confronted by his eleven-year-old cousin Beth Ann with her suspicions about the identity of the killer. A werewolf. At first, James just laughs it off, but with each vicious murder, he’s forced to admit that Beth may be right…and one, or both, of them might be its next victims.
TAYLOR JONES SAYS: In Moonspell Lisanne Harrington, James “Jaime” Manarro is a fourteen-year-old boy whose town is experiencing a series of brutal murders. James and his cousin Beth think the culprit is a werewolf, and they think they know who it is, but how to prove it? Especially when no one believes them because they’re just kids. As the bodies mount and the town panics, James and Beth decide to take matters into their own hands, making themselves unwitting targets for the killer’s wrath. Can they survive long enough to make someone listen, or will the killing continue with each new full moon?
It’s an intriguing story, a little dark for YA, but that is part of its appeal. Once they pick it up they won’t be able to put it down until they finish.
REGAN MURPHY SAYS: Moonspell by Lisanne Harrington is a story of the horror visited on a small town in Southern California when a vicious serial killer tears apart its victims. The town is in an uproar while a teenager and his young cousin try to solve the murders and end up on the killer’s hit list. Our hero, James Manarro, is fourteen years old, and when his cousin Beth, who is just eleven, tells him she saw the killer who murdered her father and it’s a werewolf, James laughs—at first. As more and more people get torn to shreds, James is forced to admit that his cousin might be right. But what to do about it? The sheriff seems to believe them, but he’s not about to announce his suspicions to the public. They’d laugh him out of town. The deputy sheriff has it in for James, so he’s no help either. And James’s parents still insist on calling him Jaime, his childhood nickname, so they obviously won’t take him seriously. As the adults turn their backs on James and Beth, the two decide to go after the killer themselves. With the help of the only adult who believes them, these unlikely heroes set about trapping a monster, only to discover that monsters aren’t as easy to take down as they might think.
Moonspell is a dark fantasy that explores both sides of bravery–courage and fear—and what it’s like to know the truth when no one believes you so you have to watch the worst happen, knowing you can’t stop it. It’s an exciting, terrifying, and suspense-filled tale that should appeal to young adults, new adults, and older adults alike.
Wolf Creek’s nightmare started during the last full moon of the summer, leaving the close-knit town forever changed.
Two days before New Student Orientation at the middle school, Martha Sommes, the Language Arts teacher, was on her way home. She’d spent the better part of the afternoon and early evening preparing her homeroom for the influx of new seventh graders. They would fill her days with their constant chatter, squirrelly activity, and the electronic toys they secretly used while she attempted to teach them how to write an essay and use vocabulary beyond OMG, BFF and TTFN. God, how she hated texting. And don’t even get her started on twerking.
That year, the hot Santa Ana winds started early and chased Mrs. Sommes home as she stopped at the market for a can of dog food for Bitsy, her Cocker Spaniel, best friend and only companion. The hot, dry winds made her hair stand on end and her skin itch as though a posse of fire ants marched across her body. They also made her nerves jump, and she glanced over her shoulder several times to make sure she wasn’t being followed.
Today, she’d lost track of the time and hadn’t left school until nearly dark. She regretted her mistake because it meant she would be walking the last few blocks home from the market in nothing more than moonlight. And the odd light of the Blue Moon to boot. Lord, how she hated the dark.
It was all that moron, Arnie Kaczynski’s, fault–a city employee whose only real responsibilities consisted of planning the annual Labor Day Festival and changing the bulbs on the light standards whenever they burned out. Or when some middle-school hoodlums broke them. She was sure he’d neglected the lights all over town for the past month because he was so busy making sure there were enough weenies to be bought by hungry picnickers. After all, he had the brains of a sea sponge with the attention span to match. On her way to school just that afternoon, she counted no less than five broken lights and called Gus Ingstrom, the City Manager, to complain.
“Fat lot of good that did.”
Laziness infuriated her, and it came as no surprise that Arnie grew into a larger version of the slothful teen who had taken up space in her classroom years before.
No one but me cares about this town any more. The lazy kids she’d taught her first few years had grown into parents, who passed their apathy and lack of ambition on to their own kids, which were now her current crop of students. Thank God Arnie never managed to father a child. A least not yet. Picturing a second generation of Arnies wasting her time caused Mrs. Sommes to shudder.
She shifted her handbag to her other shoulder. As she did so, she thought she heard footsteps behind her. It was hard to tell, because the winds picked up again, growling as they blasted in from the desert. A lone tumbleweed careened crazily toward her and narrowly missed knocking her off-balance before it hurled itself against the door of The Quiet Riot, the nasty country bar run by Donna Glass. Donna had been one of Mrs. Sommes’s more promising students. True potential unfulfilled.
“Who’s there?” Mrs. Sommes demanded in her strict teacher’s voice, turning to face whoever was behind her.
She hoped she sounded more confident than she felt. The angry wind whipped her hair into her eyes, and she brushed it impatiently away. She peered over the top of her glasses into the darkness, but couldn’t see anything. She hurried on.
The wind screeched its high-pitched warning and exploded past her. The teacher dodged another tumbleweed and was nearly knocked ass-over-teakettle in the process.
“Heavens,” she exclaimed, clutching the front of her blouse and trying to catch her breath. She leaned against the door of the First Edition Bookstore and fished in her purse for her asthma inhaler. Grasping it in both hands, she winced at the pain that flared in her arthritic knuckles as she brought it to her lips and puffed. As she sucked in the foul-tasting medicine, another big gust of wind blasted her in the face. She almost lost her glasses. While trying to hold on to them, she heard something growl behind her.
Fear strangled her. She couldn’t catch her breath, in spite of repeated pulls on the inhaler. The shadows moved and darkened. Something was coming for her. She tried to scream, but nothing came out. Not even when she heard the howl of the wind and underneath it, the sound of something razor-sharp as it sliced through the air. There was a brief flash of pain, then nothing.
The nightmare was unleashed.
© 2016 by Lisanne Harrington