Atria, March 2004, 25.00, 400 pp.
In the 1600's, colonists, tired of the Indian raids, settled on Sanctuary Island off the coast of Maine. For a time life was good until one of the settlers was suspected of various crimes and fled to the mainland. He returned with a gang of criminals killing all the settlers. In the present day, Sanctuary Island, now called Dutch Island, contains a thriving community but from time to time inexplicable things happen to evil men.
The island is preparing for the coming of Bad Men including Edward Molloch, a sociopathic predator who is coming to Sanctuary to kill the wife who betrayed him and retrieve the money she stole from him. In his need for revenge, he leaves a trail of destruction that begins when he escapes from his prison guards and ends on the island he dreamed about during his last year in prison. Accompanying him is groups of fellow sociopaths who do not believe the laws of society apply to them. Dutch Island will once again flow in a sea of red with no one being safe.
John Connolly, the author of the Charlie Parker mysteries, has written a very dark gothic crime thriller that will frighten readers because the fear comes from real people, not imaginary monsters. Written in the third person from both the viewpoints of the islanders and the criminals, the audience sees that the true monsters wear the mask of humanity to hide an evil core. BAD MEN (a very appropriate title) is as terrifying as a novel gets.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner