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Reviewed by Timothy R Baldwin for Readers' Favorite
Ashley Fontainne's Many (A Legion Novella, Book 1) though short reads like a much longer work. The author immediately introduces the reader to the protagonist, Sheriff Clyde Tidwell, who lives his life in general apathy since experiencing the death of his wife a year before this story begins. But, he can no longer wear the cloak of complacency when he encounters a horrific and gruesome scene of what appears to be a quadruple murder with one witness, the youngest son of the slain family. Though the murder scene seems to be a clear open and shut case, it becomes the site of a much deeper, darker battle between Tidwell and a powerful demonic force.
Ashley Fontainne hooked me into this story from the very first line. Tidwell is an empathetic character that readers will root for in his rise to heroism. Tidwell is reminiscent of Craig Johnson's Walt Longmire: rugged, aloof, extremely broken, and far more complicated than what he appears to be on the surface. As for the plot, fans of Frank Perretti's This Present Darkness Series will enjoy it. Though Fontainne's story has an obvious Christian message, I believe the story's pervasive darkness and eventual redemption can be appreciated by the secular reader as well, especially one who is into paranormal thrillers. Overall, Many is profoundly engaging and emotionally wrought. At times, I'd even say it is outright terrifying. Ashley Fontainne is truly a master of the description required for the short story, revealing just enough to draw the reader into the plot.