Monday, 3 September 2012

Ash: Return of the Beast by Gary Val Tenuta

How Gary Val Tenuta came to write Ash: Return of the Beast a supernatural crime chiller steeped in the occult.
Ash: Return of the Beast by Gary Val Tenuta
Ash: Return of the Beast by Gary Val Tenuta
I was browsing the shelves in a second-hand bookstore and came across a biography of the infamous occultist, Aleister Crowley (1875-1947). Due to my life-long fascination with all things paranormal, I was at least somewhat familiar with Crowley. I knew he identified with the number 666 and referred to himself as “The Beast”. I knew he was revered as a master of ritual magic or what some call the Dark Arts. I knew his picture appeared on the cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album and I knew that several musicians of the hard rock variety were into him. I knew he’d been branded by the British press as ‘The Wickedest Man in the World’ and I knew Musolini had kicked him out of Italy. I even had a copy of a strange little book entitled, Liber Al Vel Legis (The Book of the Law), that was allegedly dictated to Crowley by a nonhuman entity near the Great Pyramid in 1904.
What I didn’t know was that he was cremated in England and that the urn, containing his ashes, was sent to a man named Karl Germer in New Jersey. Germer buried the urn under a large oak tree on his property. Sometime later, he decided to move to California and he wanted to take the urn with him. But, when he went to dig it up, he found it was no longer there. How it disappeared and where it ended up, has remained a mystery to this day. When I read that, the light bulb went off in my head. I thought, “Man, if that isn’t a set-up for a good paranormal mystery, I don’t know what is.”
As I began sketching out the story I quickly realized it was developing into something much darker than anything I'd done before. Could I dredge up something that disturbing from the depths of my own storehouse of life experiences? Not exactly. Clearly, I needed to do some research and learn how real people have endured such experiences, how it affected them emotionally and psychologically and what affect it had on their lives after the experience. It was pretty disturbing stuff. Like I told my best friend, I felt like I had to go wash my hands or take a complete shower after writing the first incident of one specific heinous activity carried out by one of the characters.
Once I got far enough into the development of the story, the characters ceased to be mere concepts in my head. They began to take shape, physically, emotionally and psychologically. They became real people involved in real situations. That freed me from the discomfort I was feeling from writing some of the content. It wasn’t me who was doing those horrendous things to the characters. The characters were doing those things to each other. At that point, as a writer, I was in the Zone.
Being in the Zone is great. There are no boundaries, no limitations in the Zone. It’s the place where the writer experiences the freedom to let the story evolve as it will and any intimidating sensibilities that might otherwise get in the way... well, they’re just out of luck. The story must go on. And so it did.
About the Story:
ASH: Return of the Beast is a modern-day supernatural crime thriller, a tale of revenge steeped in the occult. The story is a work of fiction inspired by a little known factoid about the death of Aleister Crowley (1875-1947), the notorious occultist the British press once labeled as "The Wickedest Man in the World". Crowley’s body was cremated but the unexplained 1947 disappearance of the urn containing his ashes has remained a mystery… until now.
This diabolical tale propels the reader through a series of curiously interconnected events spanning the years from 1947 (and the death of Aleister Crowley) to the 1990s and the coming-of-age (and eventual stardom) of a "death-metal" rocker with the unlikely name of Rodney Duckworth.
The time-line shifts to the present day where Brian Kane, a gruff and gritty street-worn Seattle Police Detective, reluctantly teams up with the mysterious Rowena Ravenwood, an attractive and rather unconventional female FBI agent assigned to a most unusual investigative unit. Their task is to figure out why good, healthy, God-fearing preachers in their fair city are suddenly dropping dead... one at a time... nine days apart.
What is the meaning of the strange symbols branded onto the bodies of these hapless victims? Are they all part of some bizarre cult? No eyewitnesses. No fingerprints. Is it really murder? Where’s the evidence? And what is the disturbing secret that Detective Kane is holding so close to his chest?
The investigation catapults Kane and Ravenwood headlong into life-threatening situations as they wind their way through the strange, dark labyrinth of the world of the occult and find themselves battling for their lives against the powerful forces of ritual magic.
A bloody carnage of unimaginable horror is about to be unleashed upon the world. The survival of the entire human race hangs in the balance and the clues to help solve the case are in desperately short supply. Worse yet, so is the amount of time left to stop the mysterious killer's reign of terror before all Hell breaks loose. And – according to Special Agent Ravenwood – that’s not just a figure of speech.
"A page turner... dragging you into a world where few authors have successfully gone... to the Gates of Hell and back! The thrill ride alone is worth the purchase." - Valerie Bowen, author of the Mind of a Madman series
"Wow...Dan Brown fans watch out! It's gripping, tantalizing... I was hooked by the end of the first chapter and literally unwilling to put it down!" - Nikki, book blogger at Close Encounters with the Night Kind
"A riveting occult crime thriller. I couldn't put it down." - Rai Aren, author of Secret of the Sands
"A close-the-drapes-and-hang-onto-your-seat-read. Highly recommend it." - Meredith Wright Hutchins, attorney, Olympia, WA
"A good break after all the boy-meets-girl plots. Good writing... interesting concepts... a riddle and some clues to solve... very different from other horror fiction stories... even gave the whole Necronomicon tale a new spin." - Cyma Rizwan, India
"Filled with magic... at times drawing one into the evil." - Ellen In Atlanta, reviewer
"Plenty of atmosphere and a compelling narrative. A worthwhile roller-coaster ride." - Bob Freeman, author of The Descendant
"What a great story – fast paced and exciting, right to the end." - Roxanne Bland, Of Werewolves And Other Strangers 
"Excellent read! Exciting, really moves right along & a wee touch of romance. You won’t be sorry!" - Sue McRae, Stanwood, WA
"A tingly, spine-chilling little entry that belongs in any true horror aficionado's collection." - Wendy Potocki, author of The White Lady Murders
"An ending you will never see coming! Highly recommended!" - Lila L. Pinord, author of In Time, Min's Monster, and Skye Dancer
Best Regards,
Gary Val Tenuta


  1. Wow, this looks AWESOME! As a thrill writer and proud metalhead (currently hearing Ozzy's Mr. Crowley echoing...) I'm intrigued, despite the fact that I typically glaze over at the first mention of the word "supernatural." Great review! Thanks Uncle Book
    BTW do you believe in guest reviews for other blogs? I'd love to host one...cheers,

  2. Hi Kris,
    Many thanks for your kind comment, I am glad you are enjoying our blog!
    Please feel free to post you guest review to for us to check over and post it up on here and on our main website!
    Kind Regards,
    Uncle Book

  3. Howdy Uncle Book,

    I have linked this review to my thriller workshop. The intent is for my readers and more importantly, the authors on the site, to be able to find you if they are looking for a reviewer. Please check it out. Cheers,