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Dead Souls
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Dead Souls

3.8 14
by Michael Laimo

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When Johnny Petrie inherits an estate from a man he’s never heard of before, he knows he can finally escape the hell of living with his religious zealot mother and drunken father. He doesn’t realize that the hell he is moving into will be far, far worse.

The previous owner was Benjamin Conroy, a man obsessed with securing eternal life for himself and his


When Johnny Petrie inherits an estate from a man he’s never heard of before, he knows he can finally escape the hell of living with his religious zealot mother and drunken father. He doesn’t realize that the hell he is moving into will be far, far worse.

The previous owner was Benjamin Conroy, a man obsessed with securing eternal life for himself and his family - even if he had to kill them to do it. Conroy’s perverse ceremony of blood and butchery went hideously wrong, denying him and his family the immortality he sought. But with Johnny’s arrival, Conroy’s spirit has a second chance...

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Dorchester Publishing Company, Inc.
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
3.70(w) x 6.70(h) x 1.00(d)

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Dead Souls

By Michael Laimo

Dorchester Publishing

Copyright © 2007 Michael Laimo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-8439-5760-0

Chapter One

August 24, 1988 5:00 A.M.

It began with four bells tolling simultaneously throughout a large farmhouse commonly known in town as the Conroy House.

They rang once, their vibrations sounding much louder than usual. Thirteen seconds later, they rang again, stirring those in the house from their fitful slumber.

This early morning, a quarter moon beamed proudly in the sky, the winds blowing gently from the southwest, carrying with them the cries of blackbirds searching for the day's first worms. Rainclouds had dominated the skies the first two weeks of July, leaving everything in Wellfield gray and wet. Two days earlier, the power had gone out, and in parts of town the houses were still dark. The outage had only affected the Conroy House for twelve hours, an event soon thereafter considered a small grace from God.

At the tolling of the third bell, exactly twenty-six seconds after the first started, a man of forty-three years of age sat up in bed, swung his feet over the edge of the quilted mattress, and placed them in the perfect white circle painted on the oak flooring. The sweat-matted sheets drifted away from his naked form. He clasped his hands together, closed his eyes, and silently recited two prayers, the first to the Lord Jesus Christ, the second to the Lord Osiris. His lips moved gently against the hushed words escaping his throat.

At theconclusion of his prayer, the man stood in the circle. He set his sights on its intricacies, at the outer border of hexagrams, then at the inner border and the many sacred names of God etched into the bright paint. Upon each magnetic pole of the circle, pentagrams jutted. From the center of each, white candles rose like the stripped branches of ash trees. At the top of the circle, painted on the floor directly before him, was a triangle with the name of OSIRIS divided up, the O at the uppermost point, three letters at the lower right point, two at the left.

The bells continued to toll.

He gazed out the window at the wide stretch of land leading to the barn. A lone blackbird fluttered into view and landed on the sill, one oil-drop eye ignited by the faint moonlight, peering in at him. It cocked its head once, twice, then pecked a gentle message against the corner of the window. The bird hopped along the sill, then flapped its still-damp wings and flew away, leaving behind a sole black feather: a gift from Osiris.

At the thirteenth toll of the bells, the man, unsmiling, paced heel-to-toe about the circumference of the circle, knowing that in three of the other bedrooms, a woman, a girl, and a boy were carrying out the same exact procedure. He performed sixteen revolutions, then stepped away and paced to the window. He cracked it open and removed the feather from the sill.

After closing the window, he stepped to the bureau, where he struck a wooden match and lit a white candle. A yellow flame rose four inches high, its point flickering energetically, releasing a thin black line of wavering smoke. Alongside the candle, he lifted the pyramid-shaped top of a brass censer. Inside, loaded the evening before, was a cone of sandalwood. He placed the feather alongside the cone, then lit the incense and inhaled the escaping aroma as if sniffing a pot of steaming soup.

Still counting the toll of the bells, he waited until they struck thirty, then opened the bureau drawer and removed a leather parchment. He walked back to the circle, lit the four candles, then knelt inside the circle, hands resting lightly on his lap, palms facing upward and holding out the parchment like an offering. He relaxed his shoulders, facing the triangle. He began to breathe more slowly, inhaling deeply through his nose, holding the air in his lungs until the bell tolled thirteen seconds later, then exhaling for the same stretch of time. He repeated this process until he achieved a rhythmic state of reflexive breathing.

Concentrating solely on the spirit of Osiris, he unfurled the parchment and placed it flat inside the triangle. He studied the sigil etched in black ink on the worn leather, clearing his mind of all unwanted thoughts and worries. He repeated the spirit God's name for the toll of thirteen bells, chanting in unison with the voices of the woman, girl, and boy performing the same ritual in their respective rooms.

Following the tolling of the thirteenth bell, he recited a prayer, drawing out each word in a string of monotone notes: "I beseech thee, O Spirit Osiris from the vast astral plane, by the supreme majesty of God, to allow the child Bryan Conroy an association to our purpose, so that he too may benefit from your empowering gift."

As his words ended, the bells tolled again.

The Conroy House immediately grew hot. Beads of sweat formed on his brow. He closed his eyes and in his mind a warm glowing sphere appeared. He reached out for it, fingers extended. The golden light of the sphere seeped toward him in a thin tight line, as though it were composed of liquid. It entered his grasping fingers, quickly filling his body, snug and comforting, his legs, body, and head fully absorbing its fluid offering.

Once the light saturated his body, a slow vibration filled him, his body wholly accepting the powerful beat. He could hear it in his head, each encompassing cadence eventually forming distinct echoes. His ears popped with every echo, and he could see two dark misty spheres beside his head.

Windows to the astral plane.

The dark spheres expanded and faint gray holes appeared at their cores. He could hear sounds emerging, like the distant footsteps of a great and powerful giant. The man's lips moved of their own accord, his voice a long flat line as he repeated his prayer to the spirit God Osiris.

The golden light before him expanded, as did the dark spheres alongside him. A doorway appeared in the light, a glowing blue image on its metallic surface. The image took on a definite shape of curved lines atop an inverted triangle, bisected by a crooked arrow.

Slowly, the door opened. The pounding vibration exploded from the darkness beyond-from the realm of the astral plane into the physical plane.

The man gazed into the swirling black eddies, a storm of whistling winds that backed the slow, thunderous pulse. From within its murky depths, he could hear the spirit's message clearly, spat out one syllable at a time.

"Benjamin Conroy ... proceed with the ritual."


Excerpted from Dead Souls by Michael Laimo Copyright © 2007 by Michael Laimo. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Dead Souls 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
harstan More than 1 year ago
Johnny Petrie has had a very unhappy childhood living with his drunken father and a religious maniac of a mother who has controlled him all his life. Her mission in life is to make sure that evil doesn¿t find her son. Johnny comes home one day and sees a letter addressed to him and because his mother is not home he dares to open it. It contains a letter from a lawyer in Wellfield. Maine informing him that he has inherited the estate of Benjamin Conroy worth over two million dollars.------------------------ When Johnny¿s mother sees the letter, she goes into a convulsion and is rushed to the hospital where he learns her maiden name was Conroy. When he returns home, he finds his father dead of a suicide. Feeling there is nothing left for him in New York he travels to Wellfield to claim his inheritance. He doesn¿t realize that the evil malevolence that claimed all the members of his family is waiting for him to join the rest of his kin¿.in hell.------------------------- The ability to scare a reader into sleeping with the lights on is something only a master of the horror genre can do and Michael Laima will run up your electric bill. The horror slowly creeps up on the audience, catching them off guard when it turns into something from beyond. Like Stephen King, Mr. Laima develops his characters so they seem real and evoke emotions of sympathy and pity for the protagonist and revulsion for Johnny¿s biological father who formed his own form of religion which led to a family catastrophe.--------------- Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Actualy i can see why you call them zombies, but its actualy the familys souls going to the bodies that died. I saw the movie DEAD SOULS on Chiller and i enjoyed evey second of it. Evey time it went to commercials? It kept me guess what was going tto happen next. I love the ending it was a great plot. I also loved the very vry ending(not wanting to give anything away) Tonight i figured to search my favorite movies and i just figured out DEAD SOULS is a book and now im going to read it. There not actual zombies. Just souls of the dead taking over their bodies. ;)
DazThreeNine More than 1 year ago
Atmospheric, brooding, mysterious and violent. Dead Souls packs a real punch of genuine Horror, wrapped in an Occult glove. Johnny Petrie, trapped in a restrictive upbringing, comes into an unexpected inheritance on his 18th birthday – and then all hell breaks loose. The discovery of who he really is, what happened when he was a baby, and how he got the scar on his chest sets off a chain of horrific events that mirror the occult ritual, started 17 years previously by his Father, that went horribly wrong and left a lasting curse on his forebears and those involved. Drawn inexorably to the town in rural Maine where the nightmare unfolded, Johnny and the other important parties find themselves in a fight for survival against evil, possessive violence that wants Johnny’s blood to seal the pact made long ago. Soon to be a TV Movie – Dead Souls is a real page turner – at times truly frightening, and always tense and thrilling.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I didn't realize this was a zombie novel. After reading Brian Keene's The Rising, I thought zombies were going to be tough to beat. But Michael Laimo did it. If you thought Deep In The Darkness was good, you'll LOVE Dead Souls. It's a GREAT horror novel, has zombies, gang rape, mass murder, suicide, dead animals, and a VERY cool story of the occult. Highly recommended. Could easily be the best horror novel of the year.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story for Halloween! I read this about 3 days, it was that good! Mr. Laimo has a very disturbing mind... Plot was good, not many twists but complete enough to keep you wanting to find out what happens next. Can't wait to see the Chiller movie! Hopefully it's as good as the book.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
This book has several unusual touches and it's pretty interesting and it's fairly well written.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This nifty tale quickly festers and explodes into sprawling action sequences and great gobs of gory fun! But that's not all. The characters are well rounded, and the book is evenly paced. There's something for readers and writers here.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was captivated by this book. I could not put it down! michael laimo shines again!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Thie bood read like a poorly made horror film, it had no depth and a ridiculas story line. It had some favorable customer reviews which I do not understand.