Synopses & Reviews
FOUR DECADES AFTER TYPHOID MARY WENT TO HER GRAVE, FIVE CURIOUS
GRADUATE STUDENTS STRUGGLE TO ESCAPE ALIVE FROM THE ABANDONED ISLAND
THAT ONCE IMPRISONED HER. CONTAGION DOESN’T DIE. IT JUST WAITS.
the Hell Gate section of New York’s East River lie the sad islands
where, for centuries, people locked away what they most feared: the
contagious, the disfigured, the addicted, the criminally insane.
infection slowly consumed the stricken. Here a desperate ship captain
ran his doomed steamship aground and watched flames devour 1,500 souls.
Here George A. Soper imprisoned the infamous Typhoid Mary after she
spread sickness and death in Manhattan’s most privileged quarters.
great-granddaughter, Karalee, and her fellow graduate students in
public health know that story. But as they poke in and out of the
macabre hospital rooms of abandoned North Brother Island—bantering,
taking pictures, recalling history—they are missing something: Hidden
evil watches over them—and plots against them.
When death visits Hell Gate, it comes to stay.
darkness falls, the students find themselves marooned—their casual
trespass having unleashed a chain of horrific events beyond anyone’s
Disease lurks among the eerie ruins where Typhoid
Mary once lived and breathed. Ravenous flies swarm puddles of blood. Rot
and decay cling to human skin. And spiteful ghosts haunt the living and
Soon five students of history will learn more than they
ever wanted to know about New York’s foul underbelly: the meaning of
spine-tingling cries down the corridor, of mysterious fires, of
disfiguring murder, and of an avenging presence so sinister they’d
rather risk their lives than face the terror of one more night.
The legend and mystery surrounding Mary Mallon better known as Typhoid Mary is given a supernatural twist in Wolff’s creepy but unsatisfying debut. During a pleasure cruise on the East River with friends graduate student Karalee Soper can’t resist the lure of North Brother Island where Mary Mallon was quarantined a century ago. In fact Karalee’s great grandfather George A. Soper was the one who finally captured Mary after she sickened many people with her cooking. The friends intend to explore the ruins and get off the island before dark but they meet a woman dressed in rags named Mary and she has other plans for them. Interspersed passages from Mary’s point of view humanize a woman who was made a pariah making it clear that Karalee’s connection to her goes deep. As very bad things begin to happen to Karalee and her friends a violent conclusion seems inevitable but the abrupt ending means Karalee’s motivations aren’t explored thoroughly. This story of vengeance is atmospheric and spooky with a pervasive sense of dread but it could use some fleshing out. Agent: Sharon Pelletier Dystel amp; Goderich Literary Agency. (July)" Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
"Wolff’s imperturbable calmness adds punch to the inevitable grisliness.
A strong, quick, and perfectly upsetting little shocker." Booklist
"[The Prisoner of Hell Gate] presents a classic horror
scenario....with a decidedly millennial twist...Wolff's way with
characterization and situation recalls Stephen King's grounded,
relatable style (with Mary Mallon rendered particularly vividly), and
she employs genre tropes deftly." Kirkus Reviews
“This story of vengeance is atmospheric and spooky, with a pervasive sense of dread. …Creepy.” Publishers Weekly
"A voice that surprises you with its originality. A story that compels
you to keep turning pages. A powerful horror novel that chills you right
to the bone." M. J. Rose, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Language of Stones
"A rich mix of alternative history and historical fact, vividly brought
to life with the writing chops and style of a seasoned pro...A dazzling
tour de force." Vincent Zandri, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of The Remains
"An instant classic. A tale where the horror is psychological as
well as physical, and sneaks up behind you like a shambling corpse—or a
vengeful killer." Allan Leverone, New York Times bestselling author of Mr. Midnight
“The Prisoner of Hell Gate will be one of the hottest books this summer. …Beautifully written. …An old-time classic horror story." Amos Lassen
“Deeply atmospheric, The Prisoner of Hell Gate, is a book to
savor. Not only is the writing excellent, but the history explored is
utterly fascinating. The plight of the characters Dana I. Wolff so
vividly portrays will linger in the mind long after the shocking
conclusion. A can’t miss for fans of literary horror and anybody who
loves a genuinely chilling tale.” Daniel Palmer, USA Today bestselling author of Trauma and Forgive Me
"A classic horror story written with true literary flair. At once
terrifying and mesmerizing, the richness of the language puts the reader
into the scene with chilling precision. Stephen King, don't look now,
but Dana I. Wolff is breathing down your neck!" Kitty Pilgrim, author of The Explorer's Code
“A haunted island. So close to one of the greatest cities on earth and
yet so hellishly far. What a wonderfully scary idea. The eerie hypnotic
mood here is perfect as are the frights, the startling climax, and the
amazing blend of history and fiction. I was reminded of Richard
Matheson’s classic Hell House and have no doubt that this too will become a classic.” David Morrell, New York Times bestselling author of Creepers and First Blood
“Written with literary flair and superb characterization, this chilling, elegant horror story is a delight.” Science Thrillers
About the Author
Dana I. Wolff is the pseudonym of a former publishing executive who has also worked as a literary agent and consultant.The Prisoner of Hell Gate is the first Wolff novel.