HELL'S GATES by Mary Masters


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From debut author Masters comes a novel about the sinister side of a small town and the local sheriff’s attempts to uncover the truth.

Chris Samuels takes the job of sheriff in the town of Plummet, New York, in order to escape the many dangers he faced as a police officer in the Bronx. While quaint, the town is hardly isolated: “The best part of Plummet was that you didn’t feel you were stuck in the boondocks…Route 9A conveniently ran parallel to the town.” Plummet isn’t without its troubled past. Though long dead, the seedy figure of Thorn Mastema—“Besides gambling and loan sharking, the man was into child pornography, drugs, prostitution, and illegal abortions”—lives on in both the nursing home that still bears his name and his protégé, one Jason Torrent, who runs the place. When a 3-month-old baby goes missing, Torrent offers a $500,000 reward, even though Sheriff Samuels feels he is a prime suspect. It’s a suspicion that Samuels is warned against voicing. As the mayor explains, “You can’t start accusing a man like Torrent about a kidnapping.” Powerful, mysterious, and unpleasant in social situations, Torrent is not a man to be trifled with, but how else can the sheriff do his job? Populated with local characters, including a portly deputy and a kindhearted priest, the story incorporates everyday struggles and diabolical occurrences. For example, a book falls open to a page of a “drawing rendered in blood of a child with a dagger hovering over his heart, surrounded by six people with anguish and pain etched on their faces.” While certain portions involving occult practices may prove too obvious for some readers (“The Fourth Gateway of Hell shall be opened when Satan tastes the blood of a righteous one and an evil one”), those intrigued by a town with a streak of wickedness will feel right at home with the sheriff and his search for answers, particularly as the answers become ever more troubling.

Alive with a devilish plot, the book takes a satisfying, twisted journey into evil.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 2014
ISBN: 978-1500518653
Page count: 304pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
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