Title: Still Waters
Author: F.E. Feeley Jr.
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Pages/Word Count: 210 Pages
At a Glance: This is a novel that will stay with you well beyond the last page. I highly recommend it.
Reviewed By: Sammy
Blurb: Promise, Michigan is very much like every other small town across the state. Built on the edge of a lake, the homes sit in neat little rows in cute little neighborhoods. During the summer Promise bustles with tourists who come to spend their vacation dollars and enjoy the lake’s refreshingly cold water. But Promise holds a terrible secret. In the center of the lake is an abandoned island where a curse is rumored to wait for victims, unabated and deadly. Most think it’s just a story, something used to keep kids out of trouble. Still, everyone gives it a wide berth. Everyone except Bret and Adam. They dare to venture out the night of Bret’s birthday. When they declared their love and promise to get married, they believe no one else heard their whispered words—but they are wrong.
Five years later Adam dies, and Bret returns to his family to heal. But someone is killing the people of Promise in random acts of violence. Bret, with the help of FBI agent Jeff McAllister, must discover the identity of a murderer with death on his mind and revenge in his heart.
Review: I rarely begin a review with a nod to the cover artist, but in this novel’s case, not only was the story breathtaking but Paul Richmond’s cover art is glorious as well. So, come take a dip with me into the world that F.E. Feeley Jr. created. You may want to keep a light on and the tissues handy, for this one will not only make your spine tingle, it will nip at your heartstrings as well.
Once a year Bret returns to his hometown of Promise to remember the love of his life, taken too early from him. Adam was the first person Bret met in high school that seemed to really care about him. Living in a “perfect” home with parents who barely spoke to him, Bret knew full well any behavior that threatened his mother’s high position in town would prove to make his life even more of the bitter hell than it already was. So, being gay was out of the questions, till he met Adam.
Adam was tough, fearless and beautiful. Together these two boys would beat back the haters by setting the competitive swimming world on fire. While doing so they would also fall deeply in love. And so, after making a promise to marry five years hence, post college graduation, the two boys allow the town to see their love for each other. Suddenly, Adam disappears and despite all Bret’s attempts to stir a fire under the local police force, the eventual discovery of his body floating in the lake remains a mystery and is eventually deemed a suicide. But Bret knows in his heart someone put Adam in that lake, and one day justice will be served.
Five years later Bret is with the Woolsey family once again, remembering his boyfriend. But this time, there is something else afoot in the town of Promise and deaths are racking up despite the FBI’s involvement. The strange ways in which select people are being killed remains a deadly mystery, one that may eventually take Bret’s life as well.
Unfortunately my poor attempt at a synopsis cannot communicate to you the terror this novel creates as each chapter unfolds. As Mr. Feeley describes in descriptive passages the deaths of each victim, you cannot but watch with something akin to horror while glancing into the shadows to make sure you are not being visited by the horror he unleashes. Fast paced, eerily detailed and convincingly real, the author weaves his story so effectively you swear you can taste the lake water that becomes the means of death for each victim. Not content to give us a scary tale the likes of which will remind you of a Stephen King novel, Mr. Feeley also intertwines not one but two love stories into the plot.
When FBI agent Jeff McAllister lays eyes on Bret, something stirs inside him, and, thankfully, it is reciprocated by Bret. Two lonely men who have had their share of empty one-night stands are suddenly and determinedly drawn to one another. But Bret’s heart has never fully recovered from losing Adam, so he hesitates to let the walls he has built around himself crumble. This was no tired insta-love trope trotted out to satisfy the romance aspect we all look forward to in this genre. Instead, it was a relationship which was beautifully developed and nurtured in each chapter. Tentative and ever so lovely, we watch these two men grow to care deeply for each other and pray that their fragile connection will take deep root.
Poetry. Much of the descriptive passages in this novel were so gorgeous that the word poetry comes to mind time after time. F.E. Feeley Jr. is a consummate wordsmith who wraps his story in phrases that melt your heart. Still Waters was an incredible tale of love and loss, horror and beauty, terror and learning to trust. This is a novel that will stay with you well beyond the last page. I highly recommend it.
You can buy Still Waters here: