K.B. Hill

Dunham Books (publisher)

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At a weekly visit to her friend’s office in Los Angeles, an artist, Kristian James, begins to talk about some sketches she’s done that are about to be featured at a local art gallery. She reveals to her friend that she did the sketches as a sort of therapy for a tragedy that happened in her childhood, involving what most people from home considered to be an urban legend, known as the Witchyman. A series of rapes in a wooded area known as The Witchy Path led to the story of the Witchyman. After some time had passed, the community collectively forgot about the streak of violence, and the Witchyman faded into history. But a recent phone call from Kris’ friend, Lucy, jogs her memory about the whole story. The owner of the gallery showing her sketches, is a lovely and flamboyant man named Gustavo, who sees the potential for her as an artist, as the sketches invoke strong reactions from everyone who looks at them. When the critical acclaim of the show is featured in her home town papers, the dark subject of her sketches, sees his distinct portrayal and the unmistakable images of his crimes. The orderly life he struggled so long to achieve is pulled from under him as his past is exposed to the world, and the once quieted violent urges are reawakened.

He travels to Los Angeles to find this artist who he considers responsible for his resurrection as the Witchyman. After years of trying to distance himself from his dark past, the big new city opens up a lightless world of degeneracy that surprises even him. He is easily seduced by the nocturnal subcultures of the city, as he resurrects his depraved history. As the eerily familiar crimes begin to penetrate and splinter her glamorous life and circle of friends, she realizes she must confront her past and unlock the long buried secrets of the past to expose the killer. Only his narcissism creates mistakes, as Kris was not the only person whose childhood was ravaged by his violence. And not everyone chose to simply walk away. Kris’ younger brother, Tony, has his own recollections of the Witchyman, and has filed them away in his memories. He also travels to Los Angeles to be with his sister at her art show opening. Intrigued by the life that she has carved out for herself, he decides to stay a while.

The Witchyman, to his own surprise, settles into a life that, although still marred by violence and narcissism, is better than anything he has ever had, giving way to glimmers of conflict within him.

The story jumps back and forth between past and present, and between the haunting pathways and woodlands of Wildwood Park in winter, to the seductive streets of Los Angeles. Wildwood Park, wrapped on three sides by an icy river, that freezes over in the winter months, then swells and floods its banks in the springtime. And with the receding waters, reveals secrets of evil doings on the cold winter nights previous. Wildwood Park – with its friendly neighbors, who saw nothing and heard nothing all those years ago. From there, it travels to the winding, speeding streets of Los Angeles, scented with flowers and exhaust from millions of cars, drawing in people from all walks of life. The dusky skylines of palm trees against orange skies, sets a backdrop against a freeway that connects the friends with each other. The streets that are newly navigated by a dark and violent man, bent on destroying everything and everyone around this artist, who has seen him more times than even he was aware of.

With the help of her beautiful friend, Sheila, the understanding, calming psychologist, Kris begins to come to terms with what has driven her to reveal her memories through her artwork. The recalling of the tragic death of a childhood friend at the hands of the Witchyman weaves its way through the story, forcing Kris and her brother, Tony, to find a way to face their demon-come-to-life. The nightmares that have plagued both of them for so many years confront them head-on, returning them to the frozen river that took their friend’s life so many years before.

But things are not always as they seem, and a surprising twist awaits them back home in Wildwood Park.

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