Listen to author Venero Armanno being interviewed on ABC Radio Brisbane on 8 April 2021.
Swift-moving, brutal, with unexpected moments of tenderness, The Crying Forest compels the reader’s attention to the end.
Venero Armanno’s long-awaited 11th novel has only just been released and is already making an impression with fans of dark fantasy, thrillers, crime, witchcraft and the supernatural.
Like most of Brisbane-based Armanno’s novels, The Crying Forest (IFWG, 334pp), took inspiration from the author’s real life and involved research into new areas his previous books haven’t ventured.
The author of ten critically acclaimed novels, Venero Armanno’s titles include Burning Down (2017), Black Mountain (2012), The Dirty Beat (2007) and Candle Life (2006). Prior to this, Armanno’s novel, The Volcano, won Best Fiction Book of the Year in the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award. Firehead was shortlisted for this same award in 1999. His work has been published in the US, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Israel and South Korea.
In this dark, twisted and terrifying novel, The Crying Forest introduces us to characters who are much more than they appear on the surface, and even delves deeply into the realms of Italian witches and werewolves.
“The Crying Forest is a literary supernatural tale in that characters’ emotions, their relationships and personal baggage really drive the plot — as well as a lot of real history,” said Armanno.
“It’s my first foray into the supernatural with original inspiration coming from a very spooky house my pregnant wife and I moved to, which is in an isolated area next to a large state forest frequented by wild packs of dogs that howled at night and waged battles with a proliferation of introduced deer.
“It all just seemed to cry out for a novel about the supernatural, but being outside of my usual genres, it’s taken a lot of time and research to bring to fruition,” he added.
The new book is set in the mid-1970s with Agata Rosso, a once-mighty yet now prematurely aged Italian witch, believing that the special gifts in a young girl named Lía Munro can restore youth and vitality both to herself and her bedridden husband.
She sets a deadly plan in motion to capture and use Lía, who is starting to understand things about herself that she could never have imagined: she can see things others can’t, she can travel in the spirit realm, and finally realises the extent of her power.
Picking up on the enormity of that power, Agata Rosso realises that somewhere close by, finally, is the one person who can restore her own youth and energy and raise her beloved husband Giancarlo back to life.
But will Lía have enough power to protect herself, plus her father she loves so much?
Onto the scene comes a wealthy criminal, Karl Haberman, himself wracked by terminal illness. Agata and Karl join forces in a desperate search to find young Lía. The terrible ceremony that’s planned could save them all, but can Lía find the strength and courage to conquer an evil so ancient it reaches back to Italian folklore?
The Crying Forest is published by IFWG Publishing and available in paperback (334 pages) RRP $AU35.95, eBook RRP $AU5.99 and audio book RRP $AU39.95 from all good online bookstores including Amazon, Booktopia, Audible and Book Depository. https://www.amazon.com/Venero-Armanno/e/B001JP7O2W
About Venero Armanno:
Associate Professor Venero Armanno (Veny) was born in Brisbane of parents who migrated from Sicily to Australia in the early 1950s. Veny came to books at the age of three impressing his parents by reading articles to them from the local newspapers. Although there was no history of literature of any kind in the house, Veny read everything he could find, including comics, then taking trips on the old tram system to the city library where he was a regular, and very young, visitor. At just 18 while studying (failing, really) Law and Psychology at university, and working as a bricklayer’s labourer on weekends, Veny completed his first novel, called Darker Than Night. Veny set his mind on becoming a published writer-eventually being shortlisted for the Australian-Vogel Literary Award in 1984, then producing many unpublished (“and definitely unpublishable,” he says) early novels. Unsurprisingly, Veny teaches creative writing at the University of Queensland and is a trained screenwriter.
“With The Crying Forest, Venero Armanno delivers a tale of murder and magic, of dark desires and the even darker cost of their fulfilment. Swift-moving, brutal, with unexpected moments of tenderness, it compels the reader’s attention all the way to the end, then lingers in the mind afterward.” John Langan, author of Children of the Fang and Other Genealogies
“We feel privileged to have Armanno’s wonderful novel in our catalogue,” said IFWG’s Managing Director, Gerry Huntman, “as he has an amazing track record internationally with his fiction, including winning the Queensland Premier’s Award. Aside from his credentials, The Crying Forest is an outstanding mix of dark supernatural fiction with crime and thriller elements, and paints a vivid setting in Brisbane and surrounding areas, overlaid with European witchcraft. We view this as one of our flagship titles for 2020/21, and certainly in the dark fiction field.”
“The Crying Forest is a compelling folk horror story that combines elements of crime fiction and the occult to create a unique vision of a world teeming with ghosts, shapeshifters, and a profoundly human evil. The writing is crisp the authorial voice assured, and the horror is real and gritty.” Gary McMahon, author of Glorious Beasts, and the Thomas Usher and Concrete Grove series
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