In this story two women from very different walks of life encounter unsettling changes in the sleepy community of Amityville. (The Amityville Horror, it should be said, lies decades in the future and does not play a part in this story.) One of the women is a boat woman engaged in the moonshine smuggling trade during Prohibition. The other is the wife of a newly wealthy Gatsby type of social idler who finds herself increasingly alienated from her husband and his party loving, booze zwilling friends. Spooky things are afoot: illegal liquor that causes most people to hallucinate. a preacher who gathers bigger and bigger crowds, bent on ridding their community of immigrants and anyone who isn't a white Protestant. And creepiest of all, slimy fungus growths that appear and spread.
The characters are engaging and the story moves right along. The creepiness grows, step by Lovecraftian step. Just when you think nothing more terrible could happen, something else goes disastrously wrong. Stopping the white nationalist mob and defeating the fungus-monster necessitate finding out the truth, which is where the bargain with the demon comes in. There are moments of sweetness, of courage, and of terrible but necessary choices. I loved every page of it and I'm eagerly looking forward to Tanzer’s next.
The usual disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book, but no one bribed me to say anything about it.