“Profound and enthralling. This book is a delicate dream, mixing its own internal mythology with a brutal tale of prejudice and human frailty. I can’t recommend it enough. Tanzer is absolutely one to watch.”
—Seanan McGuire, bestselling, award-winning author of In an Absent Dream
Amityville baywoman Ellie West fishes by day and bootlegs moonshine by night. It’s dangerous work under Prohibition—independent operators like her are despised by federal agents and mobsters alike—but Ellie’s brother was accepted to college and Ellie’s desperate to see him go. So desperate that when wealthy strangers ask her to procure libations for an extravagant party Ellie sells them everything she has, including some booze she acquired under unusual circumstances.
What Ellie doesn’t know is that this booze is special. Distilled from foul mushrooms by a cult of diabolists, those who drink it see terrible things—like the destruction of Long Island in fire and flood. The cult is masquerading as a church promising salvation through temperance and a return to “the good old days,” so it’s hard for Ellie to take a stand against them, especially when her father joins, but Ellie loves Long Island, and she loves her family, and she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure neither is torn apart.
|Publisher:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|Sold by:||Houghton Mifflin Harcourt|
|File size:||17 MB|
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About the Author
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
My introduction to the work of Molly Tanzer was her novel, Creatures of Will and Temper, a 19th century urban fantasy revolving around The Portrait of Dorian Gray, and demonic possession. Creatures of Want and Ruin takes place in the Roaring Twenties on Long Island, New York. The common thread between the two books is the role of demons controlling human lives. Demons take possession of people who freely agree to the arrangement, granting their hosts long life, wealth, beauty, or in this case the ability to detect falsehoods and to compel others to tell the truth. In exchange demons receive various experiences that can come about only through physical incarnation. Some demons are benign, but others are highly malevolent. Demons pass summoning instructions through generations or encoded in children’s books, as is the case here. In this story two women from very different walks of life encounter unsettling changes in the sleepy community of Amityville. (The Amityville Horror, it should be said, lies decades in the future and does not play a part in this story.) One of the women is a boat woman engaged in the moonshine smuggling trade during Prohibition. The other is the wife of a newly wealthy Gatsby type of social idler who finds herself increasingly alienated from her husband and his party loving, booze zwilling friends. Spooky things are afoot: illegal liquor that causes most people to hallucinate. a preacher who gathers bigger and bigger crowds, bent on ridding their community of immigrants and anyone who isn't a white Protestant. And creepiest of all, slimy fungus growths that appear and spread. As in the novel the characters are engaging and the story moves right along. The creepiness grows, step by Lovecraftian step. Just when you think nothing more terrible could happen, something else goes disastrously wrong. Stopping the white nationalist mob and defeating the fungus-monster necessitate finding out the truth, which is where the bargain with the demon comes in. There are moments of sweetness, of courage, and of terrible but necessary choices. I loved every page of it and I'm eagerly looking forward to Tanzer’s next. The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to say anything about it.