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Dead Hand

Dead Hand

By Valerie NiemanPublisher: Avig PressISBN: 979-8218435042Genre: folk horror, mystery, folklore, romance, supernaturalPrice: 14.99 paper/2.99 ebook
Available from: Amazon

Dead Hand is the sequel of To the Bones, finalist for the Manly Wade Wellman Award. Lourana and Darrick have taken down Eamon Kavanagh, patriarch of the dreaded coal barons of Redbird, WV, but it seems that the family isn’t done yet. The college-age son Rory has unexpectedly inherited not only the family’s empire but the family itself: generations of Kavanagh men whose spirits persist and who have now taken up residence in Rory’s mind and body. As Lourana and Darrick try to shape a life together, they must flee the life-sucking Kavanaghs across Appalachia and then, in desperation and hope, to Ireland. The Kavanagh family’s belief that they are descended from Irish royalty is tested at a sacred site, with the aid of a modern-day druid who may not be all that he claims. There are old gods at work, and even older gods. Darrick and Lourana find their love tested anew, until they are brought together in a terrifying battle between the forces of light and dark, creation and destruction.

Valerie Nieman's In the Lonely Backwater, winner of the 2022 Sir Walter Raleigh Award, has been called “not only a page-turning thriller but also a complex psychological portrait of a young woman dealing with guilt, betrayal, and secrecy.” To the Bones, a horror/Appalachian/ecojustice novel, was a finalist for the 2020 Manly Wade Wellman Award. She is the author of three earlier novels, a short fiction collection, and three poetry books. A graduate of West Virginia University and Queens University of Charlotte, she has held state and NEA fellowships and is professor emerita of creative writing at NC A&T State University. Her new work of historical fiction, Upon the Corner of the Moon, releases in spring 2025. This is the story of the Macbeths you’ve never known, rightful rulers who united Scotland in the tumultuous 11th century.


Dead Hand is riveting, emotionally complex, and beautifully grounded in the landscape and folkloric history of Ireland. I highly recommend it.

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