Orchard Grove: Vincent Zandri
Cravings come in many different ways. Some crave chocolate while others like myself vanilla. But, food is not the only thing that people crave and when that craving becomes fixated on another human being we call it an obsession or in this case a moral or mortal flaw that will bring not only one person down but three others too. Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden when they ate the forbidden fruit of good and evil. Forbidden fruit does not always refer to the apple, pears or figs that might tempt so many but the indulgence or pleasure that some envision that is considered immoral or illegal. Temptations often win out and the struggle between good and evil creates a fine line that some cross and some find hard to resist. Evil is thought of as the quality of being morally bad or creating something that causes harm or misfortune. Orchard Grove is a small town in Albany that most might consider a beautiful tranquil place that some would love visiting and others enjoy living there. But, within this community of houses lives a woman so evil; so demonic that just being in her presence can create fear, misery and death.
Demons are an evil spirit or evil person who enjoys doing something to torment a person or create terror. A person who acts as a tormentor and takes pride in being destructive, evil, forceful and cruel without any remorse for their actions or behavior. Within this quiet and tranquil community lurks more than one demon, more than one evil soul and a tormentor that will enter the heart and mind of one man, seeking out his soul, his every being with the only hope of luring him in, hooking his desire for her and hoping that he will fall.
Ethan Forrester was a successful screenwriter and penned one outstanding novel. But, Ethan’s fame and success waned heavily when his drinking started, his screenplays were rejected and one incident would cost him it all. Lana Cattivo became his craving, his lust his obsession and all reason and thought was levitated from his body hovering over him hoping that he would realize they were gone. For two months Ethan relates in his own words how he watched her sunbathe, stopped writing screenplays and selling them was out of the question. “ An obsession isn’t something that just pops up overnight….” It takes time and in this case work, planning and strategy. Susan, his wife was magnificent and although their level of closeness dissipated over a year, he was never disloyal or cheated on her but things were about to change, the dynamics of their marriage would not longer be the same and his life was about to take a downward turn. Sometimes what we crave can turn out to be toxic and if you visit Orchard Grove and learn about the past and the trees that filled the area until they were cut down and are no more, you will see one only tree that bears fruit that no one can touch. The rancid taste, the horrific way it looks and the lack of nutrients coming to its roots is just as dangerous to eat as Lana.
Meeting Lana for the first time and managing to get up close, Ethan’s moral values, ethics and strong desire to prove himself as a man reigned and all else was cast to the wind. As he approached her and their conversation began the reader is alerted to the fact that something is about to happen. The chemistry between them seemed to be electric because Ethan wanted her in all the wrong ways. Lana had a way of seducing men and women with her motions, actions and words making her more dangerous than most wanted criminals. Luring him in, reeling him into her web of deceit and deception Ethan fell for her plot to rid the world of her husband John who might be a cop but deadly too. The encounter the author describes when John, Lana, Ethan and Susan are together is bone chilling and will make readers wonder the depths that both Lana and John will go to in order to reel in their prey and get what they want. Making Ethan think that John was going to kill her she devises a plan to do that to John but only if Ethan carries it out in a gruesome way. But, some plans should be left undone and the outcome is more than tragic as this is not only the beginning of John’s downfall but the spiral downfall of Ethan that he never sees coming until it’s too late.
Ethan’s pain in his foot often intensifies parallel to the pain he is going to feel when he learns he has been set up and betrayed. After completing the deed that Lana convinced him to perform imagining watching through a window while your wife and this evil woman celebrate behind your back. Calling the police and dealing with several detectives he thinks he has one, Nick Miller, convinced that he is not guilty and that John’s death was an accident. Each time something in the present occurs the author brilliantly flashes back to the past and the chapter titled Snapshot alerts readers to Lana’s past, her deeds and that she thought this blonde haired blue eyed daughter of a missing man could not be stopped and would continue on her murderous journey.
Ethan learns even more when he realizes from looking at his wife’s texts that she and Lana are more than just friends and that maybe he is the one that if going to take the fall. But, things spiral out of control even further when Ethan decides to run, winds up in a convenience store and what happens next changes it all for everyone. Dealing with another murder, having to find a way to survive he takes rides from several strangers but last could prove deadly.
Just whom else did Lana reel into her web of deceit? Just what part does John’s partner play in this plan? But, he is so caught up in her that he decides to enact a fantasy thinking he might just get away with it all but the end result is frightening. The pain and swelling in his foot get worse, the bleeding reminds you of the bloody red wine that Lana brings for all occasions and the fear of death is just around many corners. The manner of his survival using the money from the pot patch, the threat of losing his house, Susan having to pick up the slack to pay the bills, The final showdown is terrifying and the end result for those that are about to fall can only be learned when you read this outstanding, electrifying and explosive novel. Called Hollywood to parallel him with other writers yet Ethan is a failure, drunk and delusional at times, the final account in the last chapter will sum up who is guilty, who is not guilty and who is left if anyone in Orchard Grove. Some apples are deadly and others have fruit that is sweet, tantalizing and yet forbidden when we bit into it. 24 Orchard Grove, 26 Orchard Grove: Would you want to live there? Some demons never die. Some obsessions live on and one tree will remain as a constant reminder. Only author Vincent Zandri can create a plot so terrifying, true to life as if it were ripped right out of the headlines or an Alfred Hitchcock movie but more terrifying. Orchard Grove: Don’t sit under the apple tree!
Fran Lewis: Just reviews/MJ Magazine
Let’s give this book: FIVE GOLDEN RED APPLES