Keepers of the Forest opens with the meeting of prostitute, Sherry, and an unassuming older man named Crispus who in an instance changes the course of her life forever. He is out of place on the streets where she works with her pimp and other young women which Sherry notices instantly. He propositions her with a life in which she will never have to turn tricks again with a true way out. Once she agrees her pimp is made short work of and she disappears with the older man.
Next we are introduced to Brian during the tumultuous ending of his relationship. She wants kids, he does not, and for this reason she no longer wishes to continue with him. This sends him into a downward spiral where he drinks himself into a drunken stupor at a local bar and ends up being taken care of by the bartender, Nancy, via a ride home in an Uber and suggestion that he uses his credentials to provide support as a lifeguard/swim instructor over the summer for her aunt outside of the city.
Our last major players come via young boys Chris and Scott whom are under the strict watch of their English teacher mother and passive father. Chris is young and inquisitive by nature while Scott is going through teenage rebellion at fifteen due to discontent at his home life. Their world is flipped upside down by the announcement that their parents are headed overseas for a stint via their father’s career and they are being dumped on an aunt and uncle in TupperLake that they have not seen since they were small. From here the stories begin to intertwine as one of the summer activities planned out is swim lessons.
McNally’s writing is top notch as he, once again, weaves together a tale that keeps you engaged with all of its oddities. You can tell that every moment is carefully plotted out as there are so many intricacies in the plotline. His stories are rich in superstition where you don’t want to believe that what is occurring is true but the facts are there. His characters are always so real, the average Joe, which makes the impact so much greater when they are swept up into the fantasy. It can happen to you. It can happen to the people that are around you.
The Dryad and the backstory of The Great Flood really brings you back to, HE said he would never destroy the world again by water, so what will the world be destroyed with if this purge needs to happen again? The connection between Chris and Brian following the incident at the pool drives this creepy factor especially when Brian first hears then sees him in the church when it is asked who made God? The Dryad.
Keepers of the Forest is definitely a must read and like a few other reads that I’ve completed (including The Affected by McNally which I adore) could be played out on the big screen. Once I picked it up I could not put it down. Mark of a truly amazing author.