“Chapelwood” by Cherie Priest
Synopsis: Birmingham, Alabama is infested with malevolence. Prejudice and hatred have consumed the minds and hearts of its populace. A murderer, unimaginatively named “Harry the Hacker” by the press, has been carving up citizens with a hatchet. And from the church known as Chapelwood, an unholy gospel is being spread by a sect that worships dark gods from beyond the heavens.
This darkness calls to Lizzie Borden. It is reminiscent of an evil she had dared hoped was extinguished. The parishioners of Chapelwood plan to sacrifice a young woman to summon beings never meant to share reality with humanity. An apocalypse will follow in their wake which will scorch the earth of all life.
Unless she stops it…
4 out of 5 stars
Loved this almost as much as the first book in the series, “Maplecroft”. The story begins almost 30 years after the Maplecroft murders. Lizzie has changed her last name to Andrews and lives a fairly quiet, although lonely life. Her sister, Emma died while they were estranged and her only friend through the Maplecroft murders, Dr. Seabury descended into madness before his own death.
Lizzie is contacted by Inspector Wolf, who investigated the Maplecroft murders with an odd request – that she come to Birmingham, Alabama to consult on a new string of axe murders. He convinces her to come with a portrait of her long-lost love, Nance, drawn by the only survivor of the killing spree.
This book follows the same formula as the first book in the series and switches point of view with each chapter. A little confusing for me until I forced myself to read the names of each chapter – not something I normally do. Lizzie is also not the sole main character in this book. A girl named Ruth Gussman shares equal billing.
When Lizzie meets Inspector Wolf in Birmingham, she finds that a sinister church has taken hold of the town and another Lovecraftian theme threatens everyone there – particularly Ruth. She is a very strong and independent young woman who wants nothing more than to be left alone to live her life but the church has other plans for her.
Again, as with the first book, if the reader is not familiar with Lovecraft then much of the imagery and symbolism will be missed. It’s a great second book in the series and with everything Lovecraft, the heroes don’t always come out on top. The book is spooky and well written. I wish some characters could have been expanded upon, but I’m happy with what I read.
I’m not sure if or how there can be a third book but I will be watching for it just in case!
The cover – perfect. We get to see Lizzie older, still with her trusty axe.