At age seven, when Maura Tasgall saw her parents murdered, she gave up on happy endings. Now, if she stays alive long enough to unearth the evil that killed them, she may find justice and closure, but still no happy ending–not unless her mother’s fairy tales weren’t fiction.
In my view, the test of a successful science-fiction or fantasy novel is simple. Can I believe in the world created by the writer? Do the fantasy elements ring true? To both of these questions, when applied to D. H. Parker’s Dullahan Mountain Breakdown, my answer is a resounding ‘Yes’.
From the first pages of Dullahan Mountain Breakdown, we know that we’re in a different world, one inhabited by Fair Folk or fairies. Here there are secret places unseen by mortals, veils of invisibility, jewelry with magical powers, and a mysterious cave that holds unimaginable secrets. Ms. Parker makes them all so real that you think they really do exist in some small, dark town in the Ozarks.
As an adult, Maura Tasgall returns to Amberwell, a town described by Ms. Parker as a place where “the air of it seemed fogged with fear as well as evil”. Maura is determined to unravel the mysteries that darkened her girlhood. When she was a child, her mother, Aislin, shunned as a witch, supposedly ran away with her lover. Soon after, Maura’s father died in a cave-in, or breakdown, leaving her with a legacy of unnatural nightmares and self-doubt.
But Maura has always been convinced that her mother was murdered and the killer, never punished for the crime, is alive and well in Amberwell, planning to kill again. Maura has a plan of her own: To unmask this murderer.
Ultimately, Maura discovers the truth about Amberwell’s dark secrets, but not without being drawn into an age-old battle between Good and Evil, a struggle made more difficult as she learns that things aren’t what they seem.
Dullahan Mountain Breakdown is a rare enchanting fantasy novel. For all its darkness, it works its way to a redeeming brightness, rather like a shine of fairy gold.
Dorothy Bodoin, author http://www.dorothybodoin.com/