In the Shadow of St. Anthony

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It’s the summer of 1982 in a tight-knit, predominantly Italian community in New York. It’s hot, and the long days oscillate between working hard and being as lazy as possible. This is the type of neighborhood where everybody knows everybody else’s business and elderly women from the old country pay for their veterinary services with cannelloni. And no one goes west of Sixth Avenue after midnight. Well, almost no one.

Tommy, Frank, and Moe are about to hit it big. Their band just got a great write up in The Daily News and they expect a call from record companies any day now, but tensions are rising. Tommy’s extraordinarily good looks would be perfect for the cover of their album, if only he could play an instrument. Frank and Moe are amazing musicians, but unfortunately, Frank has been distracted from music by his break up with the wealthy socialite, Amy Van Tassel.

Amy unexpectedly asks Frank to meet her on King Street, in the no man’s land west of Sixth Avenue, but when she doesn’t show up, Frank meets an exotic foreigner, someone who shares his passion for artistic expression. When Amy goes missing and Frank is nowhere to be found, Tommy must find out what happened to his friend. Are the police right? Did Frank really kidnap Amy? Or did something far worse happen to him west of Sixth Avenue? What supernatural darkness lives there?

The author, Andrew Hernon, truly brings the feelings, sights, and smells of this neighborhood alive, from the heat radiating off of the cement to the smell of Tommy’s signature sauce. The foreign woman’s apartment with, her eclectic collection of art, is particularly compelling, especially in the way the author illuminates it in the darkness piece by piece.

While Tommy is the main character, he is never as fleshed out as some of the more complicated members of the cast. For example, there are Doc Myers (the outsider, an Anglo-Saxon lost in a sea of Roman Catholics) and Cynthia, the bizarrely violent veterinary receptionist. Cynthia is the most fully-realized character in the novel. Her erratic actions puzzle her boss, Doc Myers, but as the story progresses, we discover her innermost insecurities, fears, and desires.

The supernatural darkness in the story separates lovers and friends, bandmates and families, yet fighting it brings some of them closer together. In the Shadow of St. Anthony is at once a horror novel, but also the portrait of a community, insulated by its history and geography, people just struggling to get by and find their places in a scary, unknown world.

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Author Andrew Hernon
Star Count /5
Format Trade
Page Count 185 pages
Publisher CreateSpace
Publish Date 23-Apr-15
ISBN 9781508651895 Buy this Book
Issue October 2015
Category Horror


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