The Reverend Oxford Christie is called to the nondenominational Church of the One Soul in Philadelphia. But...what happened to the congregation? No one has joined the church for many years. The previous minister’s portrait is now hanging in the basement far from all eyes. Though there is a cemetery, there are no graves for the spouses of the remaining members. Something sinister has taken over the church. But those left behind won’t talk about it. Angel, the church secretary, is clearly hiding something. Nehmi, the caretaker, lurks about, watching Ox’s every move. Ammahn, a visitor, sneaks in and sits in the back pew, never talking to anyone. What is found in the deep recesses of this sanctuary will haunt you.
William T. Delamar co-authored a creativity text, Brain-Webbing and published poetry in Weymouth, a collection of works by North Carolina writers. He was a fellow at the Weymouth Center for the Humanities for many years and is a director and past president of the Philadelphia Writers' Conference. Other novels also published by Rogue Phoenix Press: The Hidden Congregation (fall 2015) and Patients in Purgatory (2016) www.delamar.org
Reverend Oxford Christie visits a patient in a strange nursing home, one of a number owned and operated by The Group, Inc. Its profit far exceeds that of the typical nursing home, and patients seem to disappear. The state’s system of nursing home inspections is deeply flawed to the extent that severe and continued abuse easily goes unchecked. The Group, Inc. becomes aware of Christie’s nosing around and orders are given to do whatever is necessary to stop his snooping. Ox, aware that he is being watched, is torn between the possible danger to his wife and children and the suspicion that the incredible abuse of helpless patients is even worse than what’s been observed.
When fourteen year-old Jackson’s life is uprooted, he finds his new hometown, idyllic Atavus Falls, under attack. The locals choose to call the threat a rabid bear or mountain lion, but as the killer closes in on Jackson and his family, it comes to light that their ‘monster’ is actually the product of a sociological experiment gone wrong, an experiment whereupon an unhinged psychologist raised a feral child, a child completely deprived of all human contact, in order to prove that language is a contagion, a virus infecting us all.
The fates of Jackson and the monster prove to be entwined at the rootmost level, and Atavus Falls soon shows us that sometimes a monster lives in the soul of a child…and sometimes humanity can be seen reflected in the eyes of a monster.
Doug Carpenter, a new administrator, the third in four years, at Eastern Medical College Hospital, fights hospital power politics and physician greed while trying to provide a good setting for patient care. This combative scene forms a constant barrier to a successful, smooth-running operation and creates a threat to Doug's own position, but that's not all. A patient commits suicide. A drunk anesthesiologist kills a mother during an emergency delivery. Several patients are victims of an “angel of death.” A patient is poisoned by an unscrupulous doctor. A union strike explodes. A female goon brutalizes two nurses. On top of all that, Doug's wife is injured in a terroristic attack instigated by the pro-union forces. This all happens in only a matter of weeks, challenging Doug’s every emotion, diplomatic expertise, morals and ethics.