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Publisher: Koehler Books (2015)
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This novel is a multi-dimensional excursion into the paranormal. Its twists and turns take the reader on a circuitous route, where the impossible is ordinary, and there is no safe place.

Authors Aphrodite Anagnost and Robert P. Arthur have created a fast-paced, well-written read to challenge even the most hard-core fans of mystery and the supernatural. The writers use a mosaic of imaginative ideas, sensory detail, and historic events to move the reader through a morass of implausible events, to a chilling conclusion.

For the residents of Zebulon, a tiny, historic Virginia town on the Delmarva Peninsula, the world has become surreal. For the last three months, a serial murderer has been at work. On the night of the full moon, moving from house-to-house on Burnt Chestnut Road, this creature has committed atrocious acts.

Inexplicable smells, sights, and quirks of weather impinge upon the police investigation of these, driving most of Zebulon’s residents to flee in fear.

If the killer remains consistent, the next house in line is the home of Dr. Rachel Shelton and her family. One, or all of them, is destined to be the next victim, and tonight is the night. Rachel and her husband, Dave, try to prepare for the onslaught. Little do they know that sharp knives and loaded rifles cannot protect them.

Sheriff Phil Wise revisits the murder sites and struggles to make sense of the mayhem that occur at each, when “…all explanations seemed stranger than the crime scene itself…” Beatricia, Rachel’s mother, senses the truth, and her revelations help keep the reader engaged.

The frequency of multiple motifs, e.g., the unexplained smell of burnt wood, levitation of furniture, dis- and re-appearance of objects, random cold spots, and intermittent cessation of normal sound can work to distract the reader. Inconsistencies within the narrative, such as a kitchen floor that is described as linoleum, then tile, and then linoleum in the span of two pages, a discordant timeline of the murders, and a geographic site for one of the serial murders that contradicts the described pattern, detract from the storyline. However, Passover’s plot has “good bones,” and those who enjoy the genre will devour this work. The well-developed character of Beatricia, Rachel’s mother, goes a long way in helping maintain reader engagement.

Beatricia is not only a learned scholar but also a gifted medium, who views the horrendous events through the lens of spirituality. It is only after she enters the investigation with Lev, a Jewish apostate, that those old truths begin to reveal themselves, and the pieces begin to coalesce. Rachel must acknowledge and utilize her innate psychic abilities if they are to defeat the evil supernatural forces that surround and threaten them.

“Passover” by Aphrodite Anagnost and Robert P. Arthur takes the reader to a universe where the mundane meets the mystical. Here, the power of “animal magnetism” enables the dead to reanimate and materialize, and a charming teen-aged ghost attempts to seduce Rachel’s adolescent son.

In this altered reality, symbolism, echoes of ancient religions and myth, memories of age-old bondage, savage twentieth-century anti-Semitism, and ghosts and apparitions collide with everyday family conflict and strife. “Passover” is a paranormal mystery on steroids!