By Stacey Longo
Interlands by Vincent O’Neil (2013, Vincent O’Neil) is the perfect example of why self-publishing can be a good thing. The novel is well structured, reads at the perfect pace, and is hard to put down. There is no reason why O’Neil shouldn’t be picked up by one of the big publishing houses; but with so many voices out there, and so little money to sign new authors, it’s hard for a good writer to get a contract these days.
The novel introduces us to Angie Morse, a graduate student who is working on the final touches of her college thesis. The paper’s done, but she’s searching for a mysterious obelisk that she believes still exists somewhere in the area of Providence, RI. She’s found documents and photographic evidence of the monument, and even after uncovering some disturbing folklore surrounding it, is unable to give up her quest. There’s a great deal of mystery surrounding the obelisk as well as Angie herself, and the reader is given pieces of the puzzle along the way to hone one’s curiosity. O’Neil is able to answer questions in such a way that the reader thinks “Oh, that’s why! But what about this?”
The descriptions of Providence are eye opening, and the reader will never look at the city in quite the same way. (Being a New Englander myself, I can’t wait to go back and look at the buildings and train tracks through fresh eyes.) Interlands provides such an accurate and enchanting description of the WaterFire events that are held in Providence every year that if you’ve never been, you’ll swear you have after reading it.
O’Neil’s ability to slip into the horror/supernatural genre is impressive. He has previously published a series of Frank Cole mystery novels (Murder in Exile, Reduced Circumstances) and a sci-fi novel as Henry V. O’Neil (Glory Main), but he slides into the horror/thriller genre with ease. His novel tips its hat to Providence native H.P. Lovecraft, but O’Neil has a style and structure all his own. There’s no need to be a Lovecraft fanatic to enjoy this book—it has a tight plot and straightforward style all its own.
There were a couple of questions that didn’t get fully answered for me – there’s a mysterious man that Angie dances with that I felt could use more explanation, and (without spoiling anything here) Angie’s reaction to her former roommate at the end was much more placid than I’d expected. But overall, this is a satisfying read. Interlands is vividly crafted and well worth the read.