“The child ran through the dark forest, sobbing, breathless, oblivious to the driving rain that soaked his matted hair and plastered the flimsy shirt against his skin. Jagged streaks of lightning cut across the night sky, creating a stark backdrop for the swaying black oaks silhouetted above him. He ran, stumbled, fell, and ran again, heart pounding in his thin chest, the sound of his own blood roaring in his ears. Cold rain stabbed like prickly needles at his face and bare arms, and clutching fingers of underbrush tore at his clothing. But still he ran, driven not by reason or logic but by basic primal instinct—the instinct to survive.”
A child vanishes on his way home from school as thunder rumbles in the western horizon. Another is abducted from his bedroom on a storm-filled night. A young mother is murdered in her bed as lightning flashes across the Valley. Who will be next? And why?
When terror strikes the sleepy mountain community of Blacklick Valley, tucked into the dark forests of western Pennsylvania, with the mysterious disappearance of its children and a young mother is murdered, Sheriff Jed Tyler launches a dauntless search for the madman who threatens his Valley. In his quest, will he find an answer to the personal torment that plagues his days and haunts his nights—the answer to a dark secret hidden deep in his past? And why do the turbulent thunderstorms in these Pennsylvania mountains ignite a fury in the mind of the killer that fuels his madness? When newcomer Jenny McConnell stumbles into Tyler’s life, will she capture his free-spirited heart or plunge him into greater danger? From fear-ridden Blacklick Valley to a satanic cult in the distant Sierra Nevada’s, Tyler is swept across the country in his relentless determination to learn the fate of the kidnapped children as well as find resolution to the black abyss in his own soul.
“One night in early January, with dark clouds racing across a full moon that cast its ancient glow across the mountain top, they came. Clad in hooded black robes, carrying torches that blazed with evil fury, they came. With chanting—at first a distant murmur, then growing and building, louder and louder—incessant, demanding, hideous chanting, they came….
They came through our bedroom door, robes rustling, wild eyes searching, hands reaching, and carried Jeremiah and I from our beds…. They dragged Mother out the front door, through the dark forest, up the mountainside, our captors pulling my brother and I close behind. I remember the brittle sound of the fallen leaves under our feet, the cold chill of the night air brushing against my face, the pale moonlight frosting the tips of the last remaining leaves on the black, skeletal oak trees that rose above us. And we kept climbing, climbing, farther and farther up through the forest.
And as we walked, a cold wind came up, turning the leaves; and the racing clouds changed into thunderheads. And then the first bolt of lightning lit the sky and illuminated the hellish scene around us—the shadowy, dark figures stomping through the bushes and underbrush, the swaying glow of lanterns through the trees. All the while their chanting reverberated across the landscape, mixing with the sound of the howling, barking, snarling, pawing dogs that followed in their midst.”
Targeted Age Group: 18 and up
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I have always loved the mystique of the written word. My very earliest memories of books are now merely elusive images lost in the hazy mists of childhood. However, I can clearly mark that space in time when the world of literature opened up to me in a very real and concrete way. I was eight years old, third grade, when my teacher opened a book in class one day entitled THE GHOST OF BLACKWOOD HALL by Carolyn Keene. Yes, it was one of the Nancy Drew amateur sleuth series. As she read, I was suddenly whisked away into a land of adventure and intrigue–a magical, mystical journey into another place and time. That was my first love affair with the written word, and that love continues even now.
For me, creating my own tapestries with words was a natural spin-off from reading the works of others. Writing became a means of expressing all of the thoughts and feelings and dreams and emotions that I harbored within myself–a place where all things were possible and my imagination could run free and wild. I wrote primarily for myself, a source of self-satisfaction, from journals to essays to short stories to finally my first novel, RAIN OF TERROR.
As RAIN OF TERROR, Book 1 in the Blacklick Valley Mystery Series, exemplifies, I have a proclivity toward the mystery genre. The twists and turns in plot, the questions, the clues, the suspense, the final revelations, the challenge of bringing it all together captivate even me because often I’m not certain where my characters will take me. My second book, A REASON TO KILL, and my third in the series entitled ANGUISH are also chilling mystery thrillers combined with a little romantic suspense. Coming in March of 2016 is DEADLY SECRETS, where the characters from the first three books combine into an explosion of mystery, romance, and intrigue that you won’t want to miss!
RAIN OF TERROR, narrated by the talented Tony Vatsula from Days of Our Lives, is available in AUDIO on Amazon, Audible, and iTunes.
A REASON TO KILL is COMING SOON in AUDIO! (March 2016)
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DONNA CUMMINS’ debut novel RAIN OF TERROR is the product of a life-long love of both reading and writing. RAIN OF TERROR is a page-turning, edge-of-your-seat mystery/thriller set in the mountains of western Pennsylvania where the author was born and raised. She has tried to stay true to the authenticity of the scenery, the climate, and the culture of the area–all deeply embedded in her memory and experience.
Ms. Cummins graduated cum laude from Indiana University of Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education with a concentration in the social sciences. She has spent many years as an educator, her most recent position at Webster College in Tampa, Florida, where she now lives. When not writing or reading, her life revolves around her family, her little dog Toby, her numerous cats, cooking, and gardening—the quiet passions that seem to define her.
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