THE SEEKER is not just dark -- it's creepy. Aine Cahill's graduate studies at Boston's Brandeis University have taken her in two deliberately opposite directions: away from her Irish immigrant family and its "curse" that's migrated with the family to the South, erupting in Kentucky whiskey-running followed by a modern specialty in OxyContin ("hillbilly heroin"); and toward her great-great-great-great aunt Bonnie Cahill, who may have been Henry David Thoreau's lover during his retreat at Walden Pond.
But the further Aine reaches in on-site research in Massachusetts, the more strongly she finds her stay by Thoreau's pond haunted, by terrifying shreds of a past that she never dreamed of when she figured she'd track an unknown literary love affair. Two suitors also pursue her -- and even as she yields to the promised attention, a particularly nasty haunting occupies the same space and time:
No matter that Mischa was not in the cabin. She was in my head, and I had no clue how to exorcise her. Tomorrow, though, I would explore that option. There were plenty of Catholic churches in Concord, and through I'd left the pomp and ritual of the church far behind me, I knew where to find a priest.Think Nathaniel Hawthorne crossed with Steven King, and you're close to what R. B. Chesterton provides here. Keep the lights on, and the doors locked, while you read.
I drifted into sleep, and found myself floating ... Struggle as I might, I couldn't break the thrall of the whale.
When no land was visible on the horizon, the whale surfaced. One blurry eye pinned me, and a rush of red blood shot from its blowhole. "You've met your destiny, Aine Cahill."