A Time of Torment
A novel by Author
Book review by Jules Brenner
Publisher, released date, pages pp., $price
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Rarely does a title reflect the content of a book quite so fully as this one. And rarely does a person who has been as tormented as Jerome Burnel try so hard, upon release from prison, to reach for, and pay for, ultimate justice. To do that, Burnel appears at the door of Connolly's private investigator Charlie Parker to whom he relates a story that will prove just how unjust his sentence was.

We're not just talking here of the five years but, rather, of the depraved punishments he was subjected to during that time. The word "horrific" does it little justice. And the nightmare for Mr. Burnel is hardly over.

Just when Parker decides to take the case, believing his client's story too strange to be made up -- even by a con -- the man disappears, breaking parole. This brings the detective to Plassey County in West Virginia where he meets the sheriff and learns of the men of a long isolated community known as the "Cut," a fearful area that people avoid because of the criminality of its inhabitants. These people are described as a vile lot of criminal degenerates inbred for generations and in service to an entity called the Dead King. These are people no decent person in the county will intentionally meet or encounter.

This is a story of horror, terror and evil and one might wonder why these elements pervade a crime novel. Despite Connolly's migration to such themes for the genre which hint at the occult, he loads his work with dashes of natural dialogue and good humor which gives his hero considerable humanity. That it's masterfully written becomes evident in a few pages, and is the chief reward to read, even relish, every word.

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