Venero Armanno ventures into horror and supernatural for his 11th compelling novel
Swift-moving, brutal, with unexpected moments of tenderness, The Crying Forest compels the reader's attention to the end.
Venero Armanno's long-awaited 11th novel has only just been released and is already making an impression with fans of dark fantasy, thrillers, crime, witchcraft and the supernatural.
Like most of Brisbane-based Armanno's novels, The Crying Forest (IFWG, 334pp), took inspiration from the author's real life and involved research into new areas his previous books haven't ventured.
The author of ten critically acclaimed novels, Venero Armanno's titles include Burning Down (2017), Black Mountain (2012), The Dirty Beat (2007) and Candle Life (2006). Prior to this, Armanno's novel, The Volcano, won Best Fiction Book of the Year in the Queensland Premier's Literary Award. Firehead was shortlisted for this same award in 1999. His work has been published in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Israel and South Korea.
In this dark, twisted and terrifying novel, The Crying Forest introduces us to characters who are much more than they appear on the surface, and even delves deeply into the realms of Italian witches and werewolves.
"The Crying Forest is a literary supernatural tale in that characters' emotions, their relationships and personal baggage really drive the plot " as well as a lot of real history," said Armanno.
"It's my first foray into the supernatural with original inspiration coming from a very spooky house my pregnant wife and I moved to, which is in an isolated area next to a large state forest frequented by wild packs of dogs that howled at night and waged battles with a proliferation of introduced deer.
"It all just seemed to cry out for a novel about the supernatural, but being outside of my usual genres, it's taken a lot of time and research to bring to fruition," he added.
The new book is set in the mid-1970s with Agata Rosso, a once-mighty yet now prematurely aged Italian witch, believing that the special gifts in a young girl named Lía Munro can restore youth and vitality both to herself and her bedridden husband.
She sets a deadly plan in motion to capture and use Lía, who is starting to understand things about herself that she could never have imagined: she can see things others can't, she can travel in the spirit realm, and finally realises the extent of her power.
Picking up on the enormity of that power, Agata Rosso realises that somewhere close by, finally, is the one person who can restore her own youth and energy and raise her beloved husband Giancarlo back to life.
But will Lía have enough power to protect herself, plus her father she loves so much?
Onto the scene comes a wealthy criminal, Karl Haberman, himself wracked by terminal illness. Agata and Karl join forces in a desperate search to find young Lía. The terrible ceremony that's planned could save them all, but can Lía find the strength and courage to conquer an evil so ancient it reaches back to Italian folklore?
The Crying Forest is published by IFWG Publishing and available in paperback (334 pages) RRP $AU35.95, eBook RRP $AU5.99 and audio book RRP $AU39.95 from all good online bookstores including Amazon , Booktopia, Audible and Book Depository.