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Wither's Rain: A Wendy Ward Novel

Overview

Once they were strangers bound by their fears of a demonic entity called Elizabeth Wither. They saw her come to life on Halloween in the historic college town of Windale, Massachusetts. They saw their dark dreams come true by the terror she wrought. They watched her crushing death in tons of falling stone. But if Wither is gone and their nightmares are over, why do they wake up screaming?

Wendy Ward -- a college student with a gift for white magic -- can sense that the town of ...

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Wither's Rain: A Wendy Ward Novel

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Overview

Once they were strangers bound by their fears of a demonic entity called Elizabeth Wither. They saw her come to life on Halloween in the historic college town of Windale, Massachusetts. They saw their dark dreams come true by the terror she wrought. They watched her crushing death in tons of falling stone. But if Wither is gone and their nightmares are over, why do they wake up screaming?

Wendy Ward -- a college student with a gift for white magic -- can sense that the town of Windale is in for a dramatic change in weather. There's a new chill in the air....It's whispered in the warnings of an old woman. It's hidden in the corrupting legacy of a newborn baby. It's waiting in an ancient evil impatient for a human host. And it's being carried in the creeping flow of black blood -- Wither's rain.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
San Francisco Chronicle Passarella hits the groove that makes TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer such a kick.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781416588825
  • Publisher: Gallery Books
  • Publication date: 12/5/2007
  • Pages: 448
  • Product dimensions: 1.00 (w) x 5.00 (h) x 8.00 (d)

Meet the Author

John Passarella currently resides in Swedesboro, New Jersey, with his wife and three young children. His co-authored first novel, Wither, published under the pseudonym J. G. Passarella, was a Bram Stoker Award-winner and is available from Pocket Books.
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Read an Excerpt

Prologue

Windale, Massachusetts
October 31, 1999

...blood, as black as crude oil, flows with a life and a will of its own, seeking a course through the rubble of the collapsed building, aided by, yet not prisoner to, the pull of gravity, occasionally rising over a rock when no lower outlet avails itself...an incomplete entity, still the blood has awareness and a driving instinct to find the warmth of human flesh...absent from this awareness are the memories of what it has been or even how it has been reduced to this tenuous race for survival...over rubble and glass, dirt and weeds, the blood courses with the cohesion of quicksilver...almost senseless, it seeks by touch alone any indication of humanity's presence wherever it flows...without a warm, living human host, its temperature starts to cool and its millennia-old awareness begins to fade into oblivion...

* * *

"Pull over, I'm gonna be sick," Angelina Thorne said from within a bundle of blankets on the passenger side of the blue Ford F-150 pickup truck. Shivering, her voice was a weak quaver.

"Sure, Gina." Brett Marlin swung the truck onto the shoulder of Main Street, passing a partially demolished gas station and an overloaded Dumpster at the edge of the lot before stopping the truck and shifting into park. As he loosened his grip on the steering wheel, his hands were trembling. He sighed, reached for his door handle, but Gina's hand caught his other arm. "What?"

Gina Thorne's face appeared ghostly in the dashboard light. Her usual pale complexion had been reduced to sick pallor by the evening's events. She had dark rings under her light blue, almost gray eyes. And her long, strawberry-blond hair hung in sweat-soaked tangles. "She was already dead, right? Before you put her in the...?"

Brett nodded, unable to give voice to the lie.

"She was so small..."

"Too small," Brett said, nodding again. "Wouldn't have mattered if..." He let the rest of this thought pass between them unsaid. Part of the lie was his alone to bear, but somehow he thought she knew all of it.

"It's for the best, right?" Gina asked him, searching his eyes.

"For the best," he said, his voice hushed.

"Because we're only seventeen. We have Danfield together next year. Our whole lives ahead of us," Gina said, then clapped a hand over her mouth.

Brett reached for his door handle again. Gina shook her head, keeping him planted in his seat as she pushed her door open. Dropping the blankets, she staggered to the edge of the road, where the shoulder met the grassy incline that rose to the sight of the abandoned Windale Textile Mill. Since Gina wanted privacy, even after what they'd been through together less than an hour ago, and he was unwilling to be completely alone with his grim thoughts, Brett turned on the truck radio. He hit the scan button several times, searching for an upbeat song, and happened across the local all-news station.

"...golf ball-sized hailstorm, which disrupted the sixty-fifth annual King Frost parade, ended as mysteriously as it began. The brunt of the freak storm was localized in the downtown Windale area and the main parade route, and was responsible for several serious injuries among the twenty thousand spectators. Many outlying areas were also hit by the storm, where it caused numerous fires, damaged cars and windows. Property damage estimates will have to wait until morning, although Mayor Dell'Olio, himself injured during the storm, expects the totals will reach into the hundreds of thousands.

Elsewhere, an unrelated fire erupted in Windale General's Childbirth Wellness Center -- "

"Jesus!" Brett gasped. His hand jerked forward and switched off the radio before he could hear any more. As guests of the Harrison Motor Lodge, he and Gina had been as far from downtown Windale as possible and still they had heard the sirens. Easy enough to assume the crowd gathered at the King Frost parade had gotten out of hand. When Brett checked out of the motel, the balding desk clerk had been dozing in front of a small black-and-white television set tuned to a cooking channel with the sound turned off.

Brett sat up straighter in his seat so he could see Gina, bent over the grass, retching. They had wondered if anyone would miss them at the parade. Not that any of their friends, or even their families, had ever suspected anything. Gina had been good about disguising her condition. And amid all the destruction in the town tonight, their absence would never be noted.


Dry heaves. And still her body wracked with uncontrollable spasms. She was sore and tired and just wanted to go home and sleep for a week. To sleep and forget about...everything. But first she had to get through the next hour or two. Only when her retching subsided did she become aware that she was crying, silent tears washing away the remnants of her mascara and falling as quietly to the grass beneath her. Get a grip, she told herself. Can't let Brett see me like this. We decided this together. We did this together. Can't fall apart on him now.

Gina climbed to her feet on wobbly legs, then reached into the pocket of her baggy jeans for the damp wad of tissues. First she dabbed her eyes, then she wiped her mouth. The residue of bile still burned her throat. She craved a breath mint or a shot of vodka, maybe both. About to return to the truck, she stopped at the faint sound of crying.

She pulled the truck door open and looked in at Brett, whose sandy hair was a mess from him running his hands through it too many times. His square-jawed face was tight, his brown eyes wide with concern. "You hear that?" she asked.

"What?"

"Crying...I thought I heard a baby crying. I still hear..."

"Gina, wait -- !"

She turned away from the truck, even as Brett opened his door, and turned toward the sound, toward the Dumpster at the edge of the old gas station lot. With the loss of its main source of revenue, namely the daily mill worker traffic, the gas station had closed shop. Now it looked as if somebody had finally purchased the property and was clearing the lot for some new enterprise. Her gaze was drawn up the hill, to the abandoned factory, where she thought she saw a tendril of smoke spiraling into the night sky. Impossible, she thought, the mill's been closed for years.

Gina returned her attention to the thin, reedy crying sound, so soft it teased at her consciousness, almost a memory, yet not quite hope. All the guilt and regret still hadn't changed her mind. Given the same set of circumstances, she would make the same choice all over again. As much as she hated admitting that to herself.

"Gina, stop!" Brett called. "You're just imagining this."

"I'm sure I heard something," she muttered, stepping softly, almost creeping. She peered over the lip of the Dumpster, staring down into the construction debris. Split boards, rusty nails, chunks of mildew-rotted lath, jagged strips of metal...no way anything could be alive down there. Still, she leaned forward, gripping the edge of the Dumpster, feeling the chill bite of the metal against her palm. A strange sensation, as if all her warmth were leeching out into the metal, overcame her. She shuddered.

"Gina!"

Something cool and slimy coated her fingers, covering her hand in the blink of an eye. Startled, she jerked away from the Dumpster. Her hand was as black as if she'd dipped it in a bowl of India ink, and ached with pins and needles. Unable to resist the simple urge, she raised the blackened hand to her nose and inhaled. Her eyes burned and her nose began to drip, as with a sudden nosebleed. But when she looked down at her hand, she saw the strange liquid was dripping up and stretching amoebalike, splashing across her lips and rushing into her mouth and nostrils.

"Gina, what is it?"

She wanted to scream but could not. She was paralyzed with fear and with something else, something approaching a drug-induced ecstasy. Trembling, as wave after wave of the black substance poured into her mouth and nose and eyes and ears, she felt her knees buckling. She moaned. Then someone tugged the ground out from under her...


It happened in an instant. Brett slammed his truck door shut and followed Gina toward the Dumpster, reluctant to give credence to her hallucination. If she was hearing an infant cry, it was definitely in her mind. Still, he was only a few yards behind her when she jerked her hand back from the Dumpster, a few feet away when she raised a black-coated hand to her nose. Even as she shuddered and moaned, he leapt forward, just in time to catch her as her legs buckled. The second time that night he'd had to carry her to the truck, the first being when they left the motel room. Years of weightlifting had given him enough upper-body strength to carry her effortlessly. He lowered her into the passenger seat, reclined the back- rest a bit more, then tucked the blankets around her. A quick examination of her left hand showed it was pale but otherwise normal. The sheen of black he'd seen must have been a trick of the light and shadows.

As he drove her home, he kept glancing over at her, willing her to awaken. Finally, she blinked herself awake. She flashed him a dreamy smile, the same drowsy, contented smile that usually followed their lovemaking. A long time since he'd last seen that smile.

"What happened?" she asked.

"You collapsed, back there at the Dumpster," Brett said. "I thought maybe you cut yourself or something." He shrugged. "Probably just exhaustion."

"Yeah," she said, "I'm sure that's all it was."

"How do you feel now?"

She lifted his right hand from where it rested on the gear shift and squeezed it, hard. "Better," she said. But now her smile seemed almost predatory. "So much better, Brett. You have no idea..."

Puzzled, he watched her as long as he dared before returning his attention to the road. "Good," he said, finally. Maybe they could put this night behind them, as if none of it had ever happened.

"We're starting over," Gina whispered. "A whole new beginning. Only this time, we won't make the same mistakes."


...from the brink of darkest oblivion, awareness returns and expands with a rush as the black blood courses through the human's veins and arteries, spreading to the limits of this new host body, learning all its secrets from the inside out, yet already beginning the slow process of corruption...time passes and the changes begin to give the black blood purpose, awareness recovers a lost memory, a single thought, an identity by which it has known itself for three hundred years...and the name is Wither...

Wendy Ward's Mirror Book Entry
November 6, 1999, Moon: waning crescent, day 27

I don't know if I can do this anymore. Being Wiccan meant something peaceful to me before. Now I can't get past the fear. I'm afraid to go back into the woods. Afraid of the consequences. Can't very well be a proper Wicca when you're afraid of the forest. Until I overcome that fear, what's the point in continuing?

It's been six days since I...since Wither died. And I feel normal again. Well, physically normal, anyway. Still not sure about my overall sanity, although most people in town would say I lost my marbles years ago. Little witch girl. Whatever.

I shudder whenever I think of her crawling around inside my mind, sifting through my thoughts and memories, trying to replace me. Still have nightmares, but now they're regular nightmares, not the lucid dreaming episodes in colonial Windale, living actual days past in Wither's life. Those dreams were part of Wither's connection to me...and the bitch is gone now, for good. They say time heals all wounds, so I'll wait and see where I go from here.

Saw Alex in the hospital again today. He looks so helpless with both legs and his left arm in casts. Helpless, but adorable. Doctor told us he put a half dozen metal pins in Alex's legs, and Alex joked about never being able to make it through an airport metal detector without causing a scene. Glad he hasn't lost his sense of humor. I know he doesn't blame me, but I can't help blaming myself. Wither hurt him, tried to kill him, just because we were close. Even after they remove the casts, Alex is in for months of grueling rehab.

Karen -- I should say Professor Glazer -- took baby Hannah home, finally. She's a precious little thing. I promised Professor Glazer I'd be available for sitting. At least Hannah won't remember any of this. She'll have a chance to grow up normal.

Abby's a different story. She didn't exactly have a model childhood before and she's old enough to remember how her father treated her and what happened to him, old enough to remember the monster, Sarah Hutchins. I worry about Abby. Just hope the sheriff and his family can give her a good home.

Wendy Ward's Mirror Book
December 21, 1999, Moon: waxing gibbous, day 21
Yule

I tried tonight. I really tried. No, not in the woods. An indoor ritual. Sure, I could blame my stay-at-home ritual on the Gremlin, which is a mangled block of scrap metal, thanks again to Wither. Dad would have had a coronary if I asked to borrow his Beamer, so maybe I could have borrowed Mom's car. Don't know. Never asked. Not ready to go back into the woods. Not yet.

Nothing wrong with an indoor ritual. (Especially when it's freezing outside!) I waited until everyone was asleep. Took a late purifying bath. Purified the space and made a circle near my window, so I could see the night sky. I even put up a little altar with a sprig of pine and juniper. I cleared my mind, centered myself, felt at peace. Called the elements. I meditated for a while. I wanted to cast a healing spell, to speed Alex's recovery. He's still in a lot of pain. Then I realized I was stalling. Afraid to do any magic. And that made it all wrong. I thanked the elements and broke the circle.

Before, I believed in myself, believed that the magic worked, in small ways, sometimes noticeable ways. Until Wither came along. Until the night it rained, the night I believed I had made it rain. Thought I'd tapped into something special, some previously hidden amazing potential. But that was Wither's rain. I know that now. She was playing with me all along, amused by my little, useless games while she controlled all this dark power.

Can you lose something if you never really had it?

Wendy Ward's Mirror Book
February 2, 2000, Moon: waning crescent, day 27
Imbolc

Too close to the new moon to think about doing any magic. Another excuse not to do a ritual? Maybe. Lit all the lights in the house at sunset in celebration of Imbolc, then dozed off before turning them off again. Dad was not a happy camper. Said the whole campus could see the president's mansion up on the hill, lit up like a Spielbergian -- yes, he used the word Spielbergian -- UFO about to rendezvous with the mothership.

Speaking of dozing off, my nightmares aren't as frequent, but when they come, they're doozies! In the last one, Wither was a giant and I was bound head to toe on a large serving plate. She was slicing off pieces of my flesh and tossing them back into her gaping maw. I woke up screaming from that one and couldn't sleep the rest of the night. No wonder I doze off at odd hours!

Alex is getting around these days with a cane, which makes him self-conscious, even though he tries to joke about it. He tires easily. By the end of the day, his legs are exhausted and his left arm is stiff and sore. He'll always have a limp, but the cane is temporary. Of course, he'll never run on the track team again. But he's busy enough just trying to catch up on reading assignments.

Professor Glazer tells me Hannah's growth is off the charts. Even higher than when she was born. But she seems like a perfectly healthy baby girl. Art's been staying closer to mother and daughter, helping out. I think he's got a thing for my comp lit prof.

Oh, Mom and Dad bought me half a car. (Yes, this was before the house lighting incident.) I agreed to pay them back for the other half and pay for the insurance. Guess they were tired of me moping around the house. Ha! I never told them about the battle with Wither since I didn't think they would believe me. Not surprising since I have a hard time believing it myself, and I was there! If they did believe me, they'd probably never let me out of their sight again. Still, I had to explain the Gremlin getting totaled. So, I told them the Gremlin, famous for stalling at inopportune times, stalled when I was making a turn, that I lost control of the steering and the car rolled down the hill. Frankie and I escaped with some cuts and bruising. Trouper that she is, Frankie backed me up on this. So Mom insisted my next car be more trustworthy and practical. She decided on a Civic, so I insisted on the color. Black, naturally. It's a 1993 four-door, automatic with just under 100,000 miles on it. Hasn't stalled once. Almost makes me want to keep the interior clutter to a six empty-soda-can minimum. Despite the expected reliability of the car, Dad bought me two presents he stashed in the glove box: a cell phone "for emergencies only" and an automobile club membership. Since the Civic has front-wheel drive, it should be up to the challenge of these snow-clogged New England streets. Not a four-by-four, by any means, but those SUV beasts really guzzle the fossil fuels and are not kind to Mother Earth.

Wendy Ward's Mirror Book
March 21, 2000, Moon: waning gibbous, day 16
Ostara, Vernal Equinox

Spring is in the air! Drove the Civic down Gable Road today. Two times before I mustered enough courage to stop and visit my special clearing again. First I've gone back since the time I included Alex in my ritual, since the trouble with Wither.

Figuring I might freak out at night, I went during the day. And, believe it or not, I felt a sense of peace, as if I really did belong there. Shouldn't surprise me. Wither is gone. I'm free of her. Just need to get her out of my head. I collected some wildflowers from the area and brought them back to my bedroom.

Spring semester is winding down with some good news and some bad. Good: Alex might come back from Minneapolis for a summer session -- Yay! -- to make up for time lost during rehab. (Okay, so that part's not so good.) He had to cut his course load, dropping classes that gave him the most difficulty, rather than let his GPA slide into probationary territory. Hopes to make it up over the summer so he'll be back in the groove for sophomore year. Bad: Professor Glazer accepted a job offer from Stanford. (Well, bad for me since I'm gonna miss her.) She'll finish this semester, then move to California. And, turns out I was right about Mr. Leeson! Art will be going with them.

Oh -- Big Surprise! When I visited Professor Glazer at home, I saw Hannah pull herself up and walk around the room, from one piece of furniture-support to the next. And she was baby babbling, though I could make out "mama" in there. While I was rolling a ball (baba) back and forth with her, she called me "Aunt Wendy." Okay, if you want to get technical, it sounded more like "Ah-weh." But she's not even five months old! Way ahead of schedule. Gonna miss the little cutie-pie!

Wendy Ward's Mirror Book
April 30, 2000, Moon: waning crescent, day 26
Beltane

Okay, so maybe tomorrow, May 1, is really Beltane. April 30 is the old-time date and this year it falls on a Sunday, so that's convenient. And who says I can't be old-fashioned some of the time? Busy, busy, busy with exam week and term paper deadlines looming ahead. Everyone is panicked. And study groups only seem to intensify the panic.

I returned to my clearing today for a meditation ritual, wearing my robe and a garland of flowers, just hoping to find some tranquility in the midst of all the chaos around me. It was a pleasant hour, but I fear it's the eye of the storm.

Professor Glazer sold her house and Art's already had an offer on his. Like me, he's a townie, and he's having a hard time leaving his home behind. I heard him talking about closing the house up, maybe having a caretaker look after the place. But I think they'll need the money for the new place in California. Professor Glazer had little equity in her place. (Equity! Jeez, I'm starting to sound like one of Alex's finance textbooks!) She and Hannah moved into Art's place. They'll be leaving the end of May.

Alissa told me she wants to spend the summer in Europe, but only if I agree to manage The Crystal Path while she's away. At least she trusts me not to run the business into the ground! Alex said he'd help me with the bookkeeping when he comes back for his summer session, so it's not looking as scary as I thought. On the plus side, I'll be able to pay off my half of the Civic, maybe even save enough to afford an apartment next term. (Frankie mentioned she'd go in half on the rental if she lands a decent job.) I get along with Mom and Dad. Still, it would be nice to live without constant parental supervision. I'll be nineteen on August 1 (just 3 months!), but sometimes I think Mom and Dad look at me and still see a little girl in pigtails with Band-Aids on her knees. If they only knew the things I've seen!

Copyright © 2003 by Joe Gangemi and John Passarella

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Sort by: Showing all of 18 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2006

    Here he goes again!

    Passarella does it again. Just when we thought Wendy could kick butt we relize she was nothing in 'Wither' compared to what she does in 'Wither's Rain'! Wither has a new body and is ready for revenge. Her drive for revenge makes her more dangerous and horrifying than the Wither we knew in the first novel. Of course we have other charachers that have changed too - Abby has a big secret that turns out to very important to Wendy and Karen's baby, Hannah, joins Wendy's team in a very surprising way. If you liked 'Wither' you'll love 'Wither's Rain'.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 23, 2005

    NOT AS GOOD AS 'WITHER' BUT STILL WORTH READING

    I liked reading this book and it was easy to follow but compared to 'wither' it was sort of damp.I loved 'wither' its one of the best horror stories ive ever read.I will still be buying the 3rd installment to this story because it sounds good to read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2004

    the best horror book of his time!

    when i first saw wither i didnt think much about it and put in in my pile of to be read. then someone recommended it to me, it was the best recommendation i have recieved! as soon as the second book came out i grabbed it up! these 2 wendy ward books are truly spookalicious! i cant wait to read the third book coming out in october! john passarella is one of the best writers i have come across! thank god it was recommended to me!if you love horror, love witch stories this is for you! superbly written and simply enchanting! highly recommended to all!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 17, 2004

    Page Turner!!

    He captures everything you want in a horror. Mystery,Love,horror and is funny. I cant wait to see and read what the legacy is about I know John wont let us down

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2004

    Amazing!!!!!

    He has come back with a vengence. Wither's Rain is by far the best book I have read, including his previous book Wither. He has the gift to draw a reader into the book and make them part of his story. I highly recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2003

    Pasarella does it again!

    After being enchanted by 'Wither' I was thrilled to be able to read an advance copy of 'Wither's Rain'. Although 'Wither's Rain' is a stand-alone book, it is a brilliant sequel to 'Wither'. The ancient evil of John Passarella's character, Elizabeth Wither, reaches out with cold, slimy fingers to steal the soul from it's human host, and to squeeze the life from the reader's heart. Elizabeth Wither, an evil witch, returns to Windale, Massachusetts, to wreak havoc and seek revenge upon those who tried to destroy her. Windale and its inhabitants are about to be destroyed by an ancient evil. More than that, the evil needs to conquer the soul of Wendy Ward, a college student with a gift for magic, and an extreme sensitivity to her surroundings and all she holds dear. The events leading up to, and including, the final showdown are electrifingly scary. For those who enjoy a thrilling novel of good versus evil, 'Wither's Rain' will be THE horror novel of 2003.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2002

    HE'S DONE IT AGAIN

    Hold on tight as John Passarella re-weave's the story of Wither in his new book Wither's Rain. A solo sequel to Wither. If you love to be scared this is the book for you. a hair raising roller coaster ride that will leave you itching for more. John is a master story teller that will have you looking for Windale on the map. No library is complete without Wither's Rain on it's book shelf

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 20, 2002

    Put Passarella Alongside Your Favorite Authors

    First of all, before I get into my long review, I am going to start with saying this is a great book that any horror or avid book fan for that matter, should enjoy. In only his fourth novel(3rd solo, he was co-author of Wither), John Passarella breathes fresh air into the horror genre that even the most jaded fan should enjoy. The story of Wither¿s Rain centers around Wendy Ward, a college student with a gift for magic. She thought she had taken care of Elizabeth Wither when she watched her get crushed under falling stone, but it would not be the last she would see of her. Wither¿s physical form may have been crushed, but her blood survived. Unknown to Wendy, Wither¿s blood has found a new host in Angelina Thorne, and this time Wither¿s power grows more quickly. Wendy is going to have to face the same evil that she has not been able to get out of her nightmares since that one Halloween Night. In order to face the evil, she will need the help of her friends, Abby a young girl with the new found ability to turn into a wolf, Hannah a baby with extremely accelerated growth, and a crone figure from the future. That is a real simple explanation of where the book begins. One important thing to mention is that Wither¿s Rain stands alone really well. Meaning that you didn¿t have to read Wither in order to understand what is going on. Passarella does a great job of leading you into the story, and offering the vital information you might have missed not reading the first. Though since Wither was so great, I would think that you would enjoy going back and reading it anyways. Wither¿s Rain is one of those books that grabs a hold of you and just doesn't let go. From the first page, it engulfs you, and you just can¿t stop flipping the page. I would pick up the book to read just a few pages before I go to bed, and next thing I know, I have read over thirty pages(which is a lot of pages when you read as slow as me) and still can¿t seem to stop. Passarella just does such a great job of setting situations up, that you continue to read just a few more pages to find out what happens. The suspense throughout Wither¿s Rain is of a cailiber rarely seen or even approached. Then there is Wendy Ward, who is a great main character to base a series around. She has that extra something that helps to put her in a catergory with some of the best leading characters of today, such as Buffy and Anita Blake. John Passarella is a great author, and is personally responsible for my new found interest in books. Wither's Rain is a completely enjoyable and satisfying experience. John Passarella continues to prove why he belongs to be mentioned with some of the great writers of today.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2003

    Passarella weaves a tale of horror and suspense that can't be missed

    Wither's Rain, the second book in the Wendy Ward saga, begins with Wendy and her friends resuming their lives after their confrontation with Elizabeth Wither. While they are battered, injured, and exhausted, they are relieved to move on with their lives again, free of the evil that was Wither. Their relief is short lived, however. Wither's black essence was able to escape the fire that supposedly destroyed it, and it strives to live again. Wither is an ancient evil which awakens every century from its slumber to wreak havoc upon Windale, Massachusetts. Wendy Ward is a practicing witch and is beginning to realize that there might be more to the powers that awoke in her on All Hallows Eve, during her battle with Wither. These two adversaries are destined to fight again, although Wendy is unaware of her destiny. Will she realize what is going on before it's too late? Jack Passarella weaves a tale of Horror and Suspense that keeps you turning the pages. His writing style is smooth and engrossing. It pulls you into the world of Wendy Ward and won't allow you to leave until you live the tale with her. This second book in the series expands upon the main character of Wendy, but also focuses in on the others who opposed Wither: Alex, Hannah, Karen, Abby, and Sheriff Nottingham. We see the lingering effects of Wither's curse upon these unlikely heroes, and we know their lives will never be the same again. If you are a fan of horror and suspense, strong characters and story, then you can't miss Wither's Rain and its predecessor, Wither. You will find yourself unable to tear away from this masterful tale. Jack Passarella is making his mark on the literary world; expect more to come from this talented author.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2002

    AMAZING!

    The town of Windale attempts to get back to normal after its ordeal with Wither. Wendy starts to pick up the pieces of her life. Abby and Hannah although appearing normal were affected much more. Wendy begins to hear voices and seeing things which she thought was an after affect of "Wither" but realizes it is the Crone who becomes the one person that can help her. John adds a new host host to Wither's evil named Gina. Wither targets Wendy and the battle begins. John's research on Wicca pays off and the book grabs you instantly. This is a book that makes you yearn for more.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2002

    Wendy's Back!!!!

    First of all let me start out by saying that the first book of this series, Wither, was just phenonimal. One of those books that were really hard to put down and one that I couldn¿t wait to get home to read after work or doing whatever it was that had to be done. Wither was such a welcomed novel after reading a few dismal books that hardly kept my attention and would dare never warrant a second reading. Wither on the other hand, grabbed my attention from the start, and never let go. Mr. Passarella has a sharp sense of what it¿s like to be Wendy Ward, protagonist of Wither and Wither¿s Rain. He makes this character seem so alive and someone you might have known personally. With this being said, I would just like you to know how jazzed I was to read that a Wither series would be starting and the announcement of a second book to come out. With a devilish grin from ear to ear, I couldn¿t wait to devour this new one up. I knew the wait would be excruciating, BUT I was lucky enough to receive an A.R.C. of Wither¿s Rain. That excitement was almost too much to handle. When you love books as much as I do, receiving this A.R.C. months before it came out was like being a kid on Christmas morning! He¿s reprised the role of Wendy Ward, a very strong character that is smart, funny and great to read about. Picking up where Wither left off, Wendy¿s hometown of Windale, Massachusetts is stirring up some bad blood yet again, and it¿s great to be a reader and be along for the ride! Wither¿s Rain is just as good as Wither and I highly recommend reading both as soon as possible. Mr. Passarella is breathing much needed new life into this genre and it¿s exciting to be reading great things from him, and I suspect we¿ll be reading many more in the years to come!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 10, 2002

    WENDY vs WITHER!

    Wendy Ward returns in John Passarella¿s new novel, WITHER¿S RAIN. The book takes us right where WITHER left off. The return of Wither in her new incarnation brings a world of trouble to Windale, Massachusetts. Wendy ward is called to fight Elizabeth Wither and her coven of witches with the help of Abby and Alex. Unlike most sequels WR builds to an even larger and more exciting climax than did it¿s predecessor. One of the great things about WR is that you don¿t to have read WITHER to enjoy the book. Although why any reader wouldn¿t read WITHER is beyond me. John Passarella weaves a story of excitement and sometimes shocking events with the humor that infuses all of his books from the first Wendy Ward novel to his novels Buffy The Vampire Slayer: Ghoul Trouble and Angel: Avatar. For any Buffy fan, WITHER & WITHER¿S RAIN are must-reads. After reading WITHER¿S RAIN I am convinced that John Passarella will be around for a long time and Wendy Ward will become as big a part of our imaginations as Laurell K. Hamilton¿s Anita Blake or J.D. Robb¿s Eve Dallas.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2002

    A Horror Novel with a Realistic Pagan Twist

    "Wither's Rain" is the second book in the Wendy Ward saga which began with "Wither". As the story opens, we find Wiccan college student Wendy dealing with the traumatic aftermath of her good versus evil battle against the creature-witch Elizabeth Wither and her coven. Wendy thinks the ancient evil has been laid to rest, and now it is time to pick up the pieces of the shattered lives Wither left in her wake. But soon Wendy begins to suspect that all is not well in Windale, Massachusetts. Has Wither managed to cheat death again and returned to rain havoc upon those who survived her earlier rampage? Has a new force of darkness moved to town? Or is it merely Wendy's overactive imagination and lingering guilt revolving around the amount of damage Wither managed to inflict before Wendy found a way to stop her? Wendy must reclaim her wavering faith in herself and expand her magical talents to find the answer to that all important question before time runs out. "Wither" was one of the very few novels that I've ever found so engrossing that I literally could not put it down; "Wither's Rain" follows in what will hopefully be a long tradition of excellent horror writing. Wendy is a realistic and decidedly human heroine, with all of the foibles and flaws that come entangled in flesh and blood. Her Wiccan practices are realistic to a great extent, with some dramatic flair mixed in to make the story exciting. Her opponent is a witch of a different color and character, leading to interesting contrasts and comparisons between the two. And the tension generated will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. A definite must-read for any horror or pagan fiction fan.

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  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    strong horror tale

    Every century Wither and her coven come back on the anniversary of their death to commit murder and mayhem on the Massachusetts town of Windale. In 1999, Wither needed a new vessel and tried to take over the body of Wiccan witch Wendy Ward but as untested as the teenage was, she still was able to defeat the evil witch. Wendy thought that she destroyed her but will soon learn that the essence of Wither lives on in the body of eighteen year-old Gina Thorne. Gradually, Wither¿s essence spreads throughout Gina¿s body, allowing the teen to access the witch¿s powers. She plans to start a new coven but knows that to succeed, she must destroy Wendy. Thanks to the Crone, Wendy realizes that she will battle Wither once again and this time she must learn how to control and use her powers if she wants to destroy her adversary permanently. WITHER¿S RAIN is one of the best horror books of the new millennium. John Passarella has an uncanny knack of tapping into our hidden fears on the pages of his books, especially this one. His talent is on a par with Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Bentley Little. Gina/Wither is the epitome of evil and the allies she converts to her cause makes her even more dangerous to the heroine who like in High Noon needs to fight by herself. Harriet Klausner

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2002

    Passarella Is A God

    I was elated upon my discovery of Wither, Passarella¿s first novel in what I believe will be a trilogy of horror/thriller novels centered around the ever-diabolical witch Elizabeth Wither. I had searched high and low for a quality story about witches, and here it was, embodied in this wonderful novel. You can imagine, then, the absolute euphoria that swept over me when I read Wither¿s Rain, the sequel to Wither, and found that it involved not one, but two of my mythical interests, beautifully adding a young werewolf to the mix. Well, maybe not a werewolf per se. Nine year-old Abby MacNeil, changed irrevocably by her first encounter with one of Wither's cohorts, has become a shape-shifter, taking on the form of a white wolf. Also changed by their earlier encounters with the evil witches of old Windale, Massachusetts are Karen Glazer and her daughter Hannah, who seems to be maturing in both body and mind at an exceptionally accelerated rate. And, of course, there¿s Wendy Ward, the teenage Wicca whose body had been chosen by Wither herself to inhabit after her three-hundred-year nap in a farm outside of the city. Wendy thought she¿d rid herself of the evil witch, crushing her in the final chapters of Wither, but she was wrong. Now, Wither has taken refuge in the body of high school student Gina Thorne, and continues on with her chaotic behavior, and her prideful pursuit of Wendy, the woman who almost destroyed her. With the aid of a watchful old woman from the future, Wendy must destroy Wither once and for all, before it's too late and no matter the cost. Passarella is incredible in his ability to make his characters come alive on the page. I could literally feel the fear that swelled through Wendy as she raced to save her parents from Gina¿s wrath, and oxygen seemed a rare commodity to me as little Abby lie dying on the cold floor of Wendy¿s cabin. More than once I found myself whispering such phrases as No, don¿t go in there! Hit him, hit him! Look out! You¿ll be okay,it¿ll all be okay. Passarella has a rare knack for making his readers empathize with his characters, and an even rarer talent for scaring the hell out of us. The characterization of Gina Thorne was purely magical. The indifference with which she regarded her victims, the whimsical way she expelled them and moved on, the sexy wiles with which she engaged her intended ¿Keepers¿ or simple play things. Never have I liked a villain so much, she has become my newest guilty pleasure. My only qualm with this book was that it had to end, as do all good things, they say. From page one to the final confrontation, the chills never stopped coming. Passarella is making a name for himself in the horror writing industry. If it were up to me, that name would be bathed in light, the light reserved for only the best.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2002

    John Passarella is a powerful voice in the horror genre of today.

    On Halloween night in 1999, a group of young people defeated an ancient evil known as Elizabeth Wither. They thought they had destroyed it. They were wrong! The second book began on the same night. After her defeat, Wither escaped her human host's body. Wither's blood had but a short wait before a new host arrived. Angelina "Gina" Thorne changed the instant Wither entered her body. Any good within Gina was quickly corrupted. Slowly, Gina learned about the demonic entity, as well as, the extent of her new powers. Wither needed a new coven. Wither wanted revenge! Wendy Ward was a college student, gifted with white magic. Wither had left Wendy with doubts as to her magical abilities. When "the Crone" began appearing before her, Wendy thought she had finally gone mad. Instead, the Crone began teaching Wendy the lessons she must learn - QUICKLY! For Wither was on the hunt and Wendy was to be her prey. ***** Nine year old Abby and baby Hannah was not left "normal" after their ordeal in book one. They appear in this exciting sequel to John Passarella's first novel, "Wither". The story mainly targets Wendy and Gina though. Be forewarned of dark magic and hard sexual scenes, but that is expected in any book that I could ever consider as a "true" horror novel involving the dark arts. The story clearly showed that Passarella did a lot of deep research in his Wicca topic. The casual referrals to subjects, such as making the circle, and steps detailing rituals, make the story even more realistic. John Passarella is a powerful voice in the horror genre of today. I expect him to quickly become the Master of Horror! Highly recommended reading here! *****

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 28, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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