... a city of around ten-thousand people, a Forties-style Deep South town with live oaks in the shady squares, Spanish-moss hanging from the branches, blue-and-gold street cars rumbling over the pavements, the down-town streets stitched together by overhead power lines and trolley wires, graveyards for the Confederate Dead and those misguided Union boys ... a misty and humid place with the scent of the distant sea a salt tang in the air, a soft golden light lying over it all, a river called The Tulip snaking through it, and everywhere the smell of ferns and flowers growing in fresh-turned gardens, exactly like the scent of a new-cut grave ...
... and a small stand of original New World forest on top of the looming bluffs on the north-eastern edge of the town. In the middle of this stand of Old Forest is Crater Sink, a limestone pit ringed by stone cliffs coated in black moss and defining a nearly-perfect circle of cold black water a hundred feet across and a thousand feet deep. Niceville folk liked to say that things went in to Crater Sink but nothing ever came out of it.
… has worked in law enforcement and as an investigative journalist, winning - in partnership with his wife, researcher and writer Linda Mair - multiple National Magazine Awards before going on to write New York Times Best-Selling non-fiction books on the NYPD, the US Army, the United States Marshals Service.
Next came a series of best-selling thrillers such as Cuba Strait, Black Water Transit, Cobraville, and Lizardskin, among many others. Five of his books have been optioned by Hollywood producers including Jerry Bruckheimer and Joe Roth.
The NICEVILLE Trilogy is Carsten Stroud’s ground-breaking new series, a combination ghost story and crime thriller. The rights to the trilogy have sold in Europe, North America, and Asia. NICEVILLE has been described as a combination of Stephen King and Lee Child with the underlying strangeness of a Coen Brothers film. Stroud lives in Destin Florida with his wife Linda.
First of all, no axes. No severed heads or zombies or vampires or werewolves. What scares me is subtlety and a gradual uptick in the strangeness element. Take a film like Incident at Owl Creek Bridge or Nicole Kidman’s The Others. The world is normal but gradually becomes less so. Slowly, over time, we begin to understand we are in a terrible place because the terror is already here, and always has been. The movie Silent Hill starts out with perfect pitch, and descends into a shattering nightmare that is still with me. But it did so slowly and with art, with a delicate touch.
As well, the story has to make some kind of sense, it has to operate on its own internal rules, it has to be true to these rules and not break them for a cheap thrill. The film The Haunting was a superb example of the gradual increase of terror until it became unbearable.
At least for adults. Children and teens, who have no experience – yet – of how frightening the world can be – they laugh at scenes that would make a grown-up run shrieking from the room.
I wrote the Niceville Trilogy to be terrifying in an inexorable but logical way. If anyone compares what I’m doing in the NICEVILLE Trilogy with Stephen King or Henry James or Sheridan Lefanu, then I have done my job.
Give the books a try. If you can put the first one down after thirty pages … well, trust me. You won’t.
In the town of NICEVILLE people like to say that 'things go into Crater Sink, but nothing ever comes back out". This is not exactly true. Nick Kavanaugh, an ex-Special Forces soldier and now a cop, and his wife Kate, a family practice lawyer, will be taken to the limits of sanity by what will come out of Crater Sink, and what is required to make it go back.
In THE HOMECOMING, Rainey Teague, orphaned by the events of Book One, comes to live with Kate Kavanaugh, over the strong objections of her husband Nick, who can't shake the feeling that something's "just not right" with that kid. As it turns out, Nick's instincts about Rainey Teague are right on the money, as Rainey willingly attaches himself to the malevolent presence that lives in Crater Sink. When Rainey comes down from that mountain-top meeting, he doesn't come home alone, and what now lives inside him has plans for the town of Niceville and all of its people that reach a shattering crescendo of conflict and supernatural horror in the final pages of The HOMECOMING.
In THE RECKONING a thing that calls itself Nothing – begins to insinuate itself into every fiber of NICEVILLE. During a freakishly bitter winter, outbreaks of random violence, impossible hallucinatory visions, and gathering chaos begin to infect family, friends, and strangers. Nick and Kate Kavanagh and Lemon Featherlight, find themselves pushed to the limit by the inexplicable events erupting all around them, and they come to understand that the only key to destroying Nothing lies behind an antique mirror which is a gateway to a world neither living nor dead. Glynis Ruelle is the only force strong enough to counter the entity that lives in Crater Sink. The catch is that the only way to reach her is through the mirror, and the only way through the mirror is death. In THE DEPARTURE someone will have to make the ultimate sacrifice to save the town of NICEVILLE.
Rainey Teague Snaps Out Of Existence –
They stood and watched as Rainey Teague stick-walked jerkily into the frame, leaned in to the glass, stayed there, his expression growing more fixed as the seconds passed, Rainey drawing closer and closer to the glass until his nose was pressed up against it and his breath was fogging the plate.
Then the recoil.
He steps back.
And … vanishes.
The camera keeps rolling. They both stood there and watched it, riveted, locked on, with the utter wrongness of the thing rippling up and down their spines. In the frames they saw the feet of passing strollers, always that patch of bare sidewalk, now and then piece of paper flickers through or the shadow of a bird ripples across the screen, and in the background people passing by, perfectly oblivious. They ran the frames on until a uniform cop appeared in the image, crossing from the direction of Pennington's Book Nook, reaching for the door of Uncle Moochie's.
Nick recognized the big bulky shape and the pale freckled features of Boots Jackson, the Niceville cop assigned to canvass this block. They rolled it back and forth a few more times, but it was always the same.
At 1513.55, Rainey Teague is right there.
At 1513.56, the kid is gone.
He doesn't leap out of the picture, or duck to one side, or jump way up high, or fade away, or turn into a puff of smoke, or get jerked away by the arms of a stranger.
He just flicks off, as if he were only a digital image and somebody had hit ERASE.
Rainey Teague is just gone.
"The last time I was so swiftly taken over by a work of fiction was probably when I read THE GAME OF THRONES. Carsten Stroud's wonderful NICEVILLE isn't really much like George R.R. Martin's fantasy novel,
apart from being equally hard-boiled and engrossing, but it rockets around its deceptively staid southern town, pulling bad guys and worse guys and long-ago misdeeds into a widening and unfolding tale about every kind
of wickedness. Somehow it manages to get tighter, nastier, and more delightful as it rolls along toward its lovely and completely black-hearted final pages."
North America Cover
UK CoverThis is also the Australian Cover
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For More Information on Carsten Stroud please visit CarstenStroudBooks.com
The Karpfinger Agency
357 West 20th Street
New York New York
Creative Artists Agency
2000 Avenue of the Stars
Los Angeles, CA 90067
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