Evil Lives in Blue Rock
is the age-old tale of good vs. evil with a twist. Lucien Bluerock, a direct descendent of the town's fathers, lives in his gloomy mansion on the hill overlooking "his" town. Benjamin, his grandson, returns to Blue Rock along with Agate Mitchell- a childhood friend- to attend his mother's funeral. They soon learn that the Riverman, Evil Spirit, Bad Tomanous - it has many names, but is known throughout history- the ANCIENT MENACE is loose, crawled up out of the sea where powerful shamen have kept it contained for many years.
The atrocities begin upon the people of Blue Rock and members of the Quail River Reservation where the evil entity inhabits the body of Jimmy Talltree, the local tribal policeman. It is all the chosen few with the "power" can do to force the Evil One back into the sea from whence it came, using ancient rites and rituals handed down through the generations. Only their gods will know if they have succeeded this time or not in their endeavor to rid this earth of the anti-Christ.
On this dark night, the shadowy figure of a man paddled the canoe silently up the river, looking from side to side as if trying to gain his bearings. Pale moonlight glistened off his shoulders with each easy movement. The night birds stopped their chatter in midstream. Even the swaying trees stood at attention in the hush of the night.
Now, the figure paused and sat back to peer intensely at his surroundings. A stranger, silently seeking answers without questions. No coherent thoughts, no string of words, ran through his barren mind.
Dense fog followed in his wake. The farther inland it crept, the more reluctant it was to return to its home over the bleak, gray sea. So it persisted and stayed, coldly embracing every tree, valley, and the many roads that wound throughout the lowlands. It wrapped itself possessively, lovingly, over every thing and every one in the small community called Blue Rock.
Dog Winters ambled toward the river's edge as he did quite often. Being a night person, he simply could not sleep the night away as most everyone else did. He felt he belonged out here with the other night creatures, enjoyed their rambles through the trees, across meadows, and here to the rushing waters to slake their thirst from time to time.
A sound caught his attention. What's that? He squinted his eyes, trying to discern movement out upon the water. It was so unnervingly quiet. Unusual. A soft rippling noise. Another.
"Who's there?" His voice broke the stillness and startled him. Then he laughed nervously, making fun of his own self-conscious alarm. "Chicken-shit," he whispered, chastising himself.
The man known only as Dog walked a few yards up river to a place where he knew the water was shallow as it passed over a wide, sloping, sand bar. The moon came out of hiding for only an instant, allowing the curious man a glimpse of the dark shape out there in the pitchblack canoe. Who is it, he wondered again, having gained no insight to the stranger's identity. He proceeded to wade out into the warm river water. It splashed back up into his suddenly worried face, unsure if he should be letting his curiosity get the better of his good judgment. Just another step.
Better stop now, he told himself. Go home. Crawl into bed where its safe, like the smart people. Stay away from the night willies, that he never experienced before in his life in any way or form during any of his after-dark wanderings. But his feet had a mind of their own.
He looked up and saw the man and black canoe were about even with him again out in the center of the flowing river.
Dog tried to stop and found he couldn't. Even though he experienced an overwhelming sense of dread, he also harbored an unexplained need to continue wading, splashing his way toward the inky figure in the dreaded black canoe.
Can't stop, can't stop CAN'T STOP! He screamed inside his befogged head. Almost there now, he ordered his feet to STOP!
The man in the gently rocking craft, held out his hand to him, palm up like he'd do with a strange dog, trying to ascertain if the mutt was friendly or not. Nice Doggy. The pleasant looking stranger smiled. Splash, splash, can't stop...
When he gripped the stranger's hand, his instinct told him to jerk it back as pure EVIL washed through him. It crumpled him like a wadded up piece of paper, ready to be discarded. Sickness enfolded his being and he knew without a doubt, that his time had come, his time to die. He wished with all his might that he was home in his own bed. Then he'd be ready to meet his Maker. Not here. Not now.
The wholly malevolent entity flung him into the water and held him under with one powerful hand. He heard the outboard motor start up, heard it roar into gigantic life. Watched, helpless, as his head moved inexorably toward the spinning blades. The propeller mangled his face as he drowned in the blood red water of his beloved river.
Gazing down curiously at what he held in his mighty grip, the dark being let it go, and without another glance, began his journey up river once more. He had things to do, places to go.
Blue Rock Review
Lila L. Pinord has followed up Skye Dancer, her first book, with a barnburner of a second book. Pinord is gifted with expressing her Native American heritage in subtle ways. She truly speaks on “two levels.” For the non-native person her new book, Blue Rock, will keep them glued to the pages, wondering if the premise if far-fetched or if it expresses a reality they do not know. Her Native readers will know.
Blue Rock is a gripping story of good vs. evil told in an unusual format. That of Indian spiritualism from the eons of time passed down and filtered through the modern blend of the spiritualism mixed with the White Man’s teaching. It is a tale of resident evil in the form of a shape shifter. A tale that is all too believable as to how a person can be totally overcome by evil forces.
Pinord’s characters are so familiar to those who have participated in reservation life. The characterizations of people like “Lil’ Chief who is never later for dinner; Clam, the kleptomaniac; Benjamin Bluerock and his 30 years of watching; of the shy teen-age boys and girls; and of the respect of the elders who are not perfect—just wise, makes one homesick for people out of one’s own past. The thoughts of another character, Nicky, speaks to the nature of the Pacific Northwest coastal Indians, “He liked the elements to join him, to live with him.”
The tight chapters carry the foreboding and evilness in a sparse manner that many words could not. While it takes an Indian to truly understand the essence of tamanomos, Pinord’s writing leaves no one in doubt that this spiritual malaise is real. She has chosen the familiarity of the tribal policeman as both the foil of evil and of the ways reservation life has changed to allow evil to become more apparent. In the old days the people didn’t need a cop for no one had anything to steal. Needs were either met through gift or sharing. The riverman is the embodiment of all the forces of darkness that seep in from nowhere. She uses the analogy of fog and the “gray winds” to continually point out the lost feeling that accompanies those whose spiritual way is unclear. The book is both metamorphic and physical.
The mystery of life, the mystery of the evilness that befalls the human condition and the plight of humanity in the good vs. evil battle are wrapped up in the end. Its final solution is best summed up in the words of the character Christian Morgan, “Perhaps salvation does lie in the past.” The wisdom of the elders, the return to basic spiritual beliefs of one’s own people, the acceptance of those factors opposed to picking up the mantle of another’s past and religion is a lesson Pinord teaches in Blue Rock.
Gene Woodwick-Reviewer- Canoe People’s Bookshelf