In 1693, the settlers on the small Maine island of Sanctuary were betrayed to their enemies and slaughtered. Since then, the island has known three hundred years of peace. Until now. For men are descending on Sanctuary, their purpose to hunt down and kill the wife of their leader and retrieve the money that she stole from him. All that stands in their way are a young rookie officer, Sharon Macy, and the island's strange, troubled policeman, the giant known as Melancholy Joe Dupree. But Joe Dupree is no ordinary policeman. He is the guardian of the island's secrets, the repository of its memories. He knows that Sanctuary has been steeped in blood once; it will tolerate the shedding of blood no longer. Now a band of killers is set to desecrate Sanctuary and unleash the fury of its ghosts upon themselves and all who stand by them. On Sanctuary, evil is about to meet its match.
The long-dead, gray-skinned wraiths Connolly conjures up in this thriller with a supernatural twist are lighthearted sprites compared to the grotesque humans who maim, rape and kill their way through the gore-clotted story of horror and revenge. Connolly's usual protagonist, Charlie "Bird" Parker (The White Road; Dark Hollow; Every Dead Thing), makes only a brief appearance here, for which he should give heartfelt thanks. Off the coast of Maine, Dutch Island, known to the old-timers as Sanctuary, is cursed by the spirits of those who died in a savage slaughter there in the year 1693. In the present day, imprisoned murderer Edward Moloch dreams of an ancient land where he is a hunter bent on the massacre of his wife and the inhabitants of a small village. Moloch, the worst of the bad men of the title, escapes from prison and leaves a trail of mutilated victims behind as he searches for the wife who several years earlier betrayed him to police to escape his brutality. On Dutch Island, longtime native Joe Dupree, known as Melancholy Joe, is the oversize (7' 2" and 360 pounds) but gentle chief of police. He's developed a fondness for beautiful newcomer Marianne Elliott, and the feeling is mutual. Unfortunately, Marianne is Moloch's ex-wife and Moloch's on his way, leading a small gang of other very bad men. It's a terrifying story, the action brutal, grotesque and unrelentingly violent. Horrified readers will turn the last blood-soaked page wondering if they would have begun the first had they known what was coming. Think Thomas Harris by way of Stephen King: haunting, compelling, but not for the faint of heart.