In the Dark of the Light
Carroll, Oregon, Mid-1970s:
Detective Sergeant Susan Hannah is the first female police detective in this small city near the Oregon coast. When a young woman is attacked and dies, Susan soon discovers a series of rapes and a police cover-up that has gone on for years—maybe decades. But this has happened before, during the World War—same perpetrator coming back for more? More
It’s been decades since the Second World War when women not only kept the home fires burning, but also worked in factories and fields for the war effort. Now their daughters are demanding careers that are traditionally thought of as a man’s domain—and some men are bitter about that.
Women were also mobilized in military uniform like never before. Ruby and Hazel went to war themselves, serving as nurses in outposts in the Pacific during that terrible conflict. They now work the night shift at a small clinic near campus, tending minor injuries and slight illnesses only. It’s boring and quite uneventful—thank goodness, because after what they have seen, that’s a blessing.
Like Ruby and Hazel, Susan Hannah grew up in Carroll too, and is now the first female to make detective. For some, it’s only one of the disturbing changes happening here. When a young woman staggers into the campus clinic and dies in the arms of one of the elderly nurses there, the new detective discovers a series of rapes and a police cover-up that has gone on for decades.
The monastery that runs the college has roots back to a religious sect that started in the Middle Ages, and some say long before—a sect whose remnants escaped a massive purge back then, but is now dying out and desperate. Most of the instructors in the college are holy brothers there—how can she rule them out when the victims were attacked on their cathedral grounds?
To Susan Hannah, something else feels too familiar here—not only the people, but the touch and feel of evil.
"They say that there are three things in the world—the Tongue, an Ecclesiastic, and a Woman—which know no moderation in goodness or vice; and when they exceed the bounds of their condition they reach the greatest heights and the lowest degrees of goodness and vice. When they are governed by a good spirit, they are most excellent; but when they are governed by an evil spirit, they become the most wicked."
- From The Malleus Maleficarum (Hammer of Witches, c. 1487), A Witch Hunter's Guide to Prosecution, Torture and Confession