BOOK EXCERPT: Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century by David Joseph Kolb

Book Excerpt: “Prelude 1692: The Witches” & Chapter One: “A Victim of the Small Pocks”

Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century by David Joseph Kolb. On sale, paperback book 20% off on Amazon, $14.35.

Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century

Author: David Joseph Kolb
Garn Press (352 pp.)
Paperback $14.35, ON SALE on Amazon | Hardcover $27.95 | e-book $9.99 
ISBN: 978-1-942146-22-3
Buy: Amazon (ON SALE, 20% off paperback book) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound (local bookstore) | Books-A-Million | Indigo Books | Waterstones
eBook Available: Amazon

About the Book

In the dead of night at the height of the 1692 Salem mania, a dying smallpox victim collapses in prison while visiting a witch condemned to hang – Mary Bradbury, the great ancestor of famed writer Ray Bradbury.

A delirious old man, Hopestill Foster, is brought before the Rev. Cotton Mather, the infamous witch-hunter and the most powerful man in ancient Boston, for a very private interrogation. Mather is desperate for answers about Foster’s past because he knows it ties into his own. Better had he not asked. Over the course of the prisoner telling his story to the cleric, 60 years of a terrible history unfolds, at the heart of which is a monstrous secret about Mather’s family that must not be allowed to escape the room where Foster is being held.

Hopestill Foster, the novel’s protagonist, a man inured to a lifetime of suffering and one to whom a great wrong was done by him and to him in his youth, ultimately has to decide. Pass on, leaving the wreckage of his life behind, or accept a final deadly mission to make things right. For Hopestill Foster, there is only one choice.

David Joseph Kolb’s Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century, a thrilling historical adventure in the grand storytelling tradition of Northwest Passage and Drums Along the Mohawk, breaks new literary ground about the very first American century – a nearly forgotten post-Pilgrim past when intolerance, misogyny and ignorance culminated in horrifying outrages against ordinary people. Yet it rediscovers, too, that hope was never lost, and that heroes were always among us.

Book Excerpt: “Prelude 1692: The Witches” & Chapter One: “A Victim of the Small Pocks”

 

Book Reviews

“With relentless research, fascinating characters and a great storyteller’s imagination, David Kolb unravels a lingering mystery from the historical horror known as the Salem witch trials.” – Clarence Page, Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune

“Award-winning journalist David Kolb has created an interwoven tale of the earliest days of American history. In this well-researched story he shows how the earliest inhabitants of New England fought, conspired, loved and lived in the New World.” – John McGarry, CEO, Lakeshore (MI) Museum Center

“The story is well-paced, and the author clearly spent a lot of time and energy on the setting and characters. While you’re reading “Devil Knows”, you temporarily forget about all of the future successes that were to accrue to this nation—you see it as they must have, a small outpost of tenuous civilization, surrounded by an alien and hostile wilderness.” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“He very skillfully introduces us to an engaging character whose life we travel through as the threads of this intricately woven story unravels. The layers of history that we learn about along the way on this suspenseful journey are both surprising and appalling. I could not put this book down until the last page was turned!” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“Devil Knows is an intriguing story creatively woven into actual historical events using actual historical figures. The author presents us with insight into the minds of the early New England colonists as well as the Native Americans inhabitants.” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“What an attention keeper, amazingly written the author writes with suspense, graphics and detail…everyone should read this book.” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Devil Knows and gained a more nuanced appreciation for the infamous events of that period. In fact, I felt knee-deep in it. A great story well told.” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“The author has thoroughly researched an early American period and provided insight into a dark chapter in the history of our country, with enough fiction mixed into keep the story intriguing. Plenty of detail and well developed characters keep the history from being dry, and it is fascinating to learn in the afterward how much fact and how little fiction is contained in the story. Great presentation that I highly recommend.” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“Devil Knows captured my interest on page 1 and kept me under its spell to the very end. This is the first time I can remember enjoying a story so much while at the same time coming away from a book feeling like I’d genuinely learned something. Part mystery, part history, totally enthralling!” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

“I just finished Devil Knows and it was great! I loved the history, and I have a much clearer understanding of the cultural context of the witch trials. The novel eloquently portrays the conflict of religion and governance, religion and commerce, the Native American Tribes and the tragic arrogance of British and French colonization. Wow! It has everything a good story needs.” – Amazon Reviews, AMAZON

Buy: Amazon (ON SALE, 20% off paperback book) | Barnes & Noble | IndieBound | Books-A-Million | Indigo Books | Waterstones

About David Joseph Kolb

David Joseph Kolb is a journalist and author. His latest book, Devil Knows: A Tale of Murder and Madness in America’s First Century is his first published work of fiction.

Born in New York City, Kolb has lived mostly in the Midwest, serving as editorial page editor, city hall reporter and police reporter for newspapers there for more than a quarter-century. His freelance work has also appeared in The New York TimesThe Washington Post and The International Herald Tribune among other publications. He is currently co-publisher and co-editor, and a columnist for, a progressive political newsletter “dedicated to turning West Michigan blue.”

The writer’s journalism has earned him high praise from readers and editors alike, and has garnered for Kolb numerous first-place writing awards from the Associated PressUnited Press InternationalMichigan Press Association and the American Legion. In 1996, Kolb was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize for A World War Chronicle, a local interest book based on a six-year collection of his editorials and reporting on the 50th anniversary of World War II, and on West Michigan’s involvement in that titanic struggle.

As an Ohio University undergraduate, Kolb studied English literature and creative writing as a student of the late Walter Tevis, acclaimed novelist and short story writer, author of The Hustler and other works. Kolb lives with his wife Maxine and works from their home in Grand Haven, MI, where he is writing his next novel.

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