by Kent Harrington
© 2015 Kent Harrington all rights reserved
Timberline, California is a small mountain town whose citizens look after each other. The local sheriff, Quentin Collier, keeps the peace much as his father did before him; crime is rare enough that he and his deputies can help the state ranger service with search and rescue operations when needed. A recent widower, Collier’s raising two daughters on the cusp of adulthood and is just starting to think about making a new start with Patty Tyson, one of the state rangers.
It doesn’t make any sense when Willis Good, the town’s only defense attorney, is arrested for the murders of his wife and children. No one doubts Good’s guilt: the deputies found him standing over his wife’s dead body, while their two children lay dead in the family car. Good’s story doesn’t make any sense, either. He insists that he had to kill his wife because she’d become something horrible. Quentin, his deputies, and the town’s doctor, Marvin Poole, mourn the deaths of the Good family and the inexplicable loss of Good’s sanity.
Within hours of Good’s arrest, however, it becomes clear to Quentin and the other residents of Timberline that something is very wrong. Reporter Miles Hunt attends a press conference at Genesoft, the area’s largest employer, and sees that half of the food technology firm’s workforce has called in sick. Timberline High School reports an unusual number of absences, and the sheriff’s phone is ringing off the hook with missing persons reports.
Over the course of the next several days, the residents of Timberline must rally against an unknown force — virus, food contamination, radiation or something even worse — that transforms their friends and neighbors into murderous, howling monsters. When the military forces they expect to save them reveal themselves to be as dangerous as the howlers, Timberline’s survivors realize that no one is safe, and no place is safe — except, perhaps, the sanctuary built by “doomsday prepper” Chuck Phelps, who was sure all along that devastation was coming.
HOWLERS is an intense, multi-layered thriller that follows Timberline’s survivors over the course of four days: Sheriff Quentin Collier and his med-student daughter, Lacy; State Park Ranger Patsy Tyson; Doctor Marvin Poole; reporter Miles Hunt and his boss, editor Howard Price; Patsy Tyson’s ex-con former husband, James Dillon; teenager Rebecca Stewart; and others, good and evil, whose motives boil down to the need to survive an unimaginable disaster. HOWLERS, first in an anticipated series, will remind readers of such apocalyptic classics as THE BODY SNATCHERS by Jack Finney and Stephen King’s THE STAND. Kent Harrington brings his unique noir sensibilities to a thriller that will leave readers tense and talking.