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Beneath the Veil by William McNally
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Beneath the Veil

by William McNally

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Don't cry, I'm sorry to have deceived you so much, but that's how life is.
― Vladimir Nabokov, Lolita

I never realized before there were so many ways to die. So many ways to kill people. Why are there so many deadly weapons?"

Clapp rubbed his lip and looked down at her. "Listen, Miss Gilbert. I’ve come to figure that man is the only deadly weapon. Take a gun. It’s an absolutely harmless thing—even makes a good honest paperweight—until some man gets his hands around it. You can strip a gun down to its basic parts and it’s lost its power. You can reduce a man to his chemical elements, but you’ve always got the spirit of whatever you call it left. And that spirit will find some damned way to do evil.

― Wade Miller, Deadly weapon
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There are secrets. Secrets hidden between the darkness of the world and the darkness of the human soul Secrets wander amongst the lost, where only the dead are truly free. Secrets live within the darkness, sucking away the human soul, leaving a shell of nothing but horror.

Barry Ryan is learning about secrets. His personal secret, that he is dying of an inherited disease. The bigger secret, hidden under layers of history, that there is something strange, very strange, about his family and where he came from. An adopted child, Barry has done well in his life. A famous sculptor, Barry has friends, a career, and an adoptive family that loves him. But with only a familial match capable of giving him the marrow transplant he needs to survive, Barry must return to his roots, return to the shadows of the past – the shadows and secrets of a place called Auraria.

With his sister, and her boyfriend, Barry begins his trip to Auraria. And thus begins a trip to Hell. But a Hell of whose creation? Layers of lies and superstition and death fill the pages of “Beneath the Veil.” I was immediately drawn into the story, as reality becomes merely a memory. As truth and physics and geography twist and turn upon themselves, into a horror no longer dreamed, but lived.

The story itself was well written and convincingly frightening. The characters themselves are believable, though they could have been a bit better ‘fleshed out’ in my opinion, though some would say that doing so would cause the story to drag a bit. To each their own. The author doesn’t lead you by the hand through the book, you must come to some of your own conclusions, and this is not a book tied up in a tidy little bow at the end. It is, however, extremely creative, and, for a horror novel, ended in a deeply thoughtful manner. Overall, I found there were some small missteps, but I am quite comfortable with my rating. If you are a lover of horror, mystery, or thrilling ghost stories, this is most certainly going to interest you.

Recommended.
( )
  soireadthisbooktoday | May 4, 2014 |
With the thoughts of Halloween, having a book review that peaks your interest in the paranormal would be appropriate. When you see the cover of this book, you feel as if it's going to scare you to death and rightly so. A dark humanoid creature with long, sharp nails clawing at white gauze wrapped around its face is disturbing, and can either deter anyone from picking up the book or draw a reader in for a closer look.

This paranormal book by William McNally will have you at the edge of your seat. The main character, Barry Ryan, is given the opportunity to find a cure to his health issues with a bone marrow transplant and his only way out is by getting in contact with a family member. It's disconcerting to find that he is an orphan but after paying for information to complete his family tree, he finds out he does have family that he can call upon for help. He begins his journey with his sister and her boyfriend, to an out of place town called Auraria. When you get there, you realize that it isn't an ordinary town and strange things happen to people who stay.

The title of the book, Beneath The Veil, is a perfect description of what the inhabitants describe the town to be. When the inhabitants are found to have been trapped for a number of years, the main characters find out that it's going to take a whole lot to try to escape. You start to wonder what kind of family does Barry have? Who is he going to get the help he needs from? How is he going to get help? The reader begins to feel that all hope is lost for the main character and the people he brought along with him. They get themselves into a lot of trouble and you are hoping that they can get themselves out of it.

There is a slew of conflict in this novel. Everyone is trying to survive from these creatures the town folk have changed into. It's like falling down a rabbit hole in Wonderland to find out that it has turned into a nightmare. Emotions run rampant when people they know start to get killed by the handful and no one can do anything about it. Fresh out of ideas, they just try to run from one broken down farm to the next in order to survive. Sooner or later, they realize they have to stand and fight if they were ever to get out of the town alive.

William McNally takes the contemporary world and turns it into a horrific scene for terrifying events to occur. What if you were stuck in your home town with no way out? How would you survive and go about saving others? The novel gets your heart racing and trying to find answers yourself.

The plot makes sense. In many medical situations, transplants and blood transfusions for example, require family to be the perfect match so it makes sense for Barry to go hunting for a family member to help him. Unfortunately, being an orphan, you don't know who your family is and what they stand for. When the main character finds out, his heart drops to be told that his family was one of the worst people in town and it was because of them that the remaining people were cursed. It leads him to believe that he won't find the help he desperately needs and his life will be lost forever. His sister, Jen, tries everything in her power to help him but finds out that the problem is worse than she could ever imagine.

Beneath The Veil is a roller coaster ride of emotional and physical turmoil with the characters trying all they can to survive. It's a good book and it was enjoyable to read. It's geared toward people who enjoy fictional horror so be warned. If you can endure the bumps in the night, it's a good read.
  jcandrew | Oct 22, 2013 |
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