America's Lady of Supernatural Thrillers

“Raven's Cove, a great mystery by Mary Ann Poll. Avoid it when winds are gusting to hurricane speed outside. No extra creepiness needed.”
~Bonnye Matthews
Step aside Stephen King, Alaska’s Mary Ann Poll is here to spin new tales of the super-natural and the ungodly, as her heroes and heroines take on the forces of evil on 'The Last Frontier.' ~Jeff Babcock

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Welcome to the Devil’s playground otherwise known as Raven’s Cove.  This serene little Alaskan town is known for its ravens and its friendly people but no one knows about the demons that lurk everywhere. The town hosts two Christian churches but one is the Devil’s and one is God’s. Each church leader has a role to play in the scary upcoming events. A murder is the first overt indication that something is very wrong in Raven’s Cove. This murder frightens the citizens despite the town’s legends and history of gory murders in a nearby ravine.  Josiah Williams comes to town with a message that demons can and will destroy their town if they don’t fight. No one listens at first but after the second murder, he can’t be ignored.  A small group including Josiah, Sheriff Bart, Kat Tovslosky, Grandma Bricken, FBI Agent Ken Melbourne and Pastor Paul will have to go to the very gates of Hell to save their town.  This short novel is reminiscent of Stephen King’s earlier works.  Well written and interesting, people will race through the story to see who survives this brush with evil.

I've just finished Mary Ann Poll's terrific mystery/horror tale, Ravens Cove. It took me a couple of minutes to return to this reality afterwards.  Dispensing with a slow build-up to the mystery in the ravine at Ravens Cove, Alaska, Mary Ann plunges us into her intense, taut tale of the eternal Good versus Evil scenario, but does it in a way that takes over your mind and senses and draws you further into the story the more you read. I love a book that makes you forget you are reading and puts you into the action as if you are standing and watching it actually happening. In this case, that would involve watching evil beings that are reminiscent, to me, of H.P. Lovecraft's horrid characters. Lovecraft was the past master of tales of horror, and he overshadows Stephen King's work in my mind.  Mary Ann's writing has a sensitivity and an instinctive way of creating in-your-face scenes that you might wish weren't quite so vivid at times.  Her characters are well-formed and believable.

I plan to read her second in the series asap, but I might leave the light on afterwards.

Raven’s Cove” is an endearing cozy mystery wrapped in Supernatural horror and legend, set in contemporary South Central Alaska. Clearly delineated are the forces of good vs. evil, from the Congregational Alliance Church (which serves the dark side while disguising itself as of the Light), maneuvering to distract and destroy the young Reverend Lucas’ fundamentalist congregation; and the evil which has “resided” for centuries or perhaps millennia, deep in the locale known as “Raven’s Ravine,” resting just below “Corpse Mound,” an evil that has taken lives at every opportunity.

The characters are finely-drawn and three-dimensional, and even the “evil” ones will elicit reader comprehension, if not always empathy.  Kat, Sheriff Bart, Reverend Lucas, and the visitor Josiah (who has suffered greatly himself, and whose life has been changed because of it) must combine to battle an evil that only some of them can even begin to believe in, while others understand but do not yet know the extent of the evil, nor the dangers they themselves face.

For readers who like a smooth-reading mystery with Supernatural and mythological overtones, founded on a strong basis of good vs. evil, “Raven’s Cove” will hit the spot.

Mary Ann Poll’s Raven’s Cove  is a highly entertaining ‘iconoclast’ mystery set in a fictional small town on the coastline of Alaska’s Cook Inlet.  Having lived in Alaska for the better part of my adult life, I found myself reflecting upon a few of the small towns south of Anchorage, which I have visited over the years, wondering which of them Ms. Poll had patterned Raven’s Cove  after.  Hope, a former gold-mining town on the south shore of Turnagain Arm certainly came to mind. After re-reading Ms. Poll's 'Dedication,' I see Anchor Point is the locale from which Raven's Cove sprung. 

Raven’s Cove becomes the unlikely battleground of good against evil when a handful of the good souls still inhabiting the town take on overpowering minions of Satan.  Right from the onset of Ms. Poll’s story the reader is hooked by the mysterious demise of Sweeny Giles, a shipmate aboard Captain Cook’s HMS Resolution in May of 1778. 

Jump ahead to October of 1998, the reader soon discovers a new corpse has mysteriously appeared on the mound of tundra above Ravens Ravine, soon to be followed by others—and these are not your average everyday corpses. 

“I observed decayed flesh, yellow in color, oozing to the ground.  The eyes were black, rotted, and a blood-consistency liquid of purple/black was draining from both eye sockets. The corpse was face up, missing all its teeth. The mouth stood open and I observed that the tongue was also missing.” 

The young, beautiful and stalwart Kat “Kitty-Kat” Tovslosky, her cousin sheriff Bart Anderson, the mysterious old stranger Josiah Williams, the so-called ‘Pastor’ Paul Lucas, and the very unwelcome FBI agent Kenneth Melbourne from Anchorage join forces, aided by the sage wisdom of Kat’s Grandma Bricken, as they literally take on the minions of Lucifer in a battle to save the earth from eternal damnation. 

Exceptional character development, a distinct knack for details and nuances of behavior, and a fast-paced well thought out plot development make this book hard to put down.  

Step aside Stephen King, Alaska’s Mary Ann Poll is here to spin new tales of the super-natural and the ungodly, as her heroes and heroines take on the forces of evil on 'The Last Frontier.'

The mayor of Raven's Cove, Alaska has brought in a new tourist attraction - an abandoned town that no one has lived in for over 100 years. But the town was abandoned for a reason and the people of Raven's Cove are in for a fight for their very souls.

Good thriller; a little heavy on the religious aspects.

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