Title: Pale Immortal
Author: Anne Frasier
Date Published: September 5, 2006
About the Book
The sleepy town of Tuonela, Wisconsin, is known for one thing: the killer who stalked its streets one hundred years ago, drinking the blood of his victims. And when the drained corpse of a young girl is found, the citizens fear their past has risen from the grave--and point their fingers at one man.... Evan Stroud can never see the light of day. The prisoner of a strange and terrible disease, he lives in tragic solitude, taunted for being a "vampire"--until the son he never knew he had shows up in Tuonela and is drawn into its depraved, vampire-obsessed underworld. Then Evan must rely on coroner Rachel Burton, his childhood friend, for help. But the evil that they face is powerful and elusive and about to take them to the very brink of madness.
To be honest, I was not familiar with Anne Frasier. I ran across her and was drawn to her books because they were set in Wisconsin, my home state. I approached her to see if she would be willing to submit a book for review, and she was more than happy to oblige. I am thankful, as this was a fantastic read and really drew me in from the very beginning.
This book is set in the sleepy town of Tuonela, Wisconsin – a town that is notorious for the “Pale Immortal” – a serial killer who stalked the streets one hundred years ago and was rumored to drain his victims of their blood. Since the death of the “Pale Immortal” no one has lived in Old Tuonela, instead moving a few miles away and rebuilding on ground that was less haunted. The only people foolish enough to step foot in Old Tuonela are the “goth” kids or the occasional tourist – people who don’t really belive the legend or are just looking for a good scare.
Even though the town has moved, it’s past continues to haunt it. The corpse of a young girl is found dumped alongside a local road, drained of all of her blood. Has the “Pale Immortal” been resurrected from his unmarked grave, to rain terror down on New Tuonela? Or is there a new terror that the residents must encounter, something even more evil that the ghosts of their past?
The most logical suspect in most of the townspeople’s eyes is the recluse, Evan Stroud. Not only has he written a book that would give him access to details most people don’t know, he also suffers from a rare condition known as Porphyria, which makes it unable for him to be in sunlight. He has been taunted for years as being a “freak” or a “Vampire” and has considered leaving, but where would he go? At least he is familiar with the town, and most people accept him, even if they aren’t exactly friendly. And he is not without friends. His best friend Rachel Burton has recently returned to town and taken the job of County Coroner. It gives him someone to talk to and a reason to look forward to something in his day.
Evan’s life is turned upside down when a young man named Graham Yates shows up at his door, stating that he is his son. Although Evan does remember sleeping with Graham’s mother, she was the type of girl who slept with more boys than not, and the odds of Graham being his son don’t seem too probable. While waiting for the DNA results, Graham gets mixed up with a group of hoodlums who have named themselves “The Pale Immortals” and believe that the rotting bones of their idol and namesake hold the power of life, death, and immortality. For a boy who has been trying to fit in his whole life, it is easy to fall into their warped views- after all, these are the first true friends he has had in years. But the townsfolk of Tuonela have no idea what is lurking in their mist – an evil so powerful it may destroy them all.
The formation of the characters in this book is flawless – I was pleased as there are times when authors seem to go on and on giving details that really are not relevant to the story or plot, but this was not the case. The characters are also kept to a minimum, making it much easier to relate to the heartache and horror that each one goes through in search of the true “killer”.
This is a fantastic read and one that I highly recommend, especially for those of you who enjoy nothing more than a good scare!
About the Author
Theresa Weir (a.k.a. Anne Frasier) is an award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of twenty-three books and numerous short stories that have spanned the genres of suspense, mystery, thriller, romantic suspense, paranormal, and memoir. Her titles have been printed in both hardcover and paperback and translated into twenty languages. Her memoir, The Orchard, was a 2011 Oprah Magazine Fall Pick, Number Two on the Indie Next list, a featured B+ review in Entertainment Weekly, and a Librarians' Best Books of 2011. Going back to 1988, Weir's debut title was the cult phenomenon AMAZON LILY, initially published by Pocket Books and later reissued by Bantam Books. Writing as Theresa Weir she won a RITA for romantic suspense (COOL SHADE), and a year later the Daphne du Maurier for paranormal romance (BAD KARMA). In her more recent Anne Frasier career, her thriller and suspense titles hit the USA Today list (HUSH, SLEEP TIGHT, PLAY DEAD) and were featured in Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, and Book of the Month Club. HUSH was both a RITA and Daphne du Maurier finalist. Well-known in the mystery community, she served as hardcover judge for the Thriller presented by International Thriller Writers, and was guest of honor at the Diversicon 16 mystery/science fiction conference held in Minneapolis in 2008. Frasier books have received high praise from print publications such as Publishers Weekly, Minneapolis Star Tribune, and Crimespree, as well as online praise from Spinetingler, Book Loons, Armchair Interviews, Sarah Weinman's Confessions of an Idiosyncratic Mind, and Ali Karim's Shots Magazine. Her books have featured cover quotes from Lisa Gardner, Jane Ann Krentz, Linda Howard, Kay Hooper, and J.A. Konrath. Her short stories and poetry can be found in DISCOUNT NOIR, ONCE UPON A CRIME, and THE LINEUP, POEMS ON CRIME. She is a member of Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.