Lewes resident Alfred Hanley publishes novelGripping and fast-paced story
"The Beast with Seven Heads: An Improbable Sleuth Mystery" (Oblations Publications, 2011), by Lewes resident Alfred Hanley, tells a gripping and fast-paced story of how a bright, but unassuming young college teacher - to protect himself from suspicion of a heinous crime and to save his family's very life - is impelled to expose and combat a preternatural and treacherous evil.
The story opens on a mild fall day in 1970, at a small provincial college. An arrogant senior professor is found dead in his office, killed by an injection of potassium cyanide into his carotid artery. By-the-book Detective Peters immediately suspects junior faculty member William Gavin of the murder because of known friction between him and the victim. To clear his name, Gavin is thrust into the improbable role of amateur sleuth, and into a tense association with the earnest but unimaginative Peters - who, though perplexed by the academic’s unorthodox mode of investigation, is eventually compelled to follow his uncannily valid intuitions.
As the case unfolds, Gavin combines keen observation, smart inquiry and sound logic with inexplicable impulses - and an awakening dependence on divine assistance - to solve the crime, and in dramatic manner to deliver the unlikely killer. Gavin is driven to continue his investigation, however, when he discovers that the homicide is connected to a satanic cult practicing unspeakable rites - and now targeting his pregnant wife and three children. Through half a dozen deaths, two demonic manifestations, several other harrowing episodes - in a sensational climax - Gavin exposes and thwarts the diabolical web of evil.
Other sharply drawn characters are the college’s officious president, its enigmatic dean, a sundry mix of colleagues, and Bill’s steadfast wife Grace. And the momentous events around the watershed year of 1970 - its iconic songs, books, and figures - provide meaningful coloration as well as cultural context for the tale that unfolds.
Hanley is the author of two other novels ready for publication, "Apparition and Mickey's Mystery" and "Blue;" a scholarly book, "Hart Crane's Holy Vision" (Duquesne University Press, 1981); and of "Testaments: Poems in Witness of the Covenant" (Oblations Publications, 2013). "The Beast with Seven Heads" may be purchased at Browsabout Books in Rehoboth Beach; and all of Hanley's published works are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com, and other venues.
Alfred Hanley, Ph.D., is a retired professor and chair of humanities and science from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia, Pa. Prior to that, Hanley served for many years at several colleges and universities as both professor and administrator to the level of vice president. Hanley and his wife Loretta have raised six children and have 18 grandchildren, and they are active members of St. Jude the Apostle Parish in Lewes. Among several citations and honors Hanley has received through the years, he was awarded in 2012 the Medal of Merit by the Most Reverend Francis Malooly, Bishop of the Diocese of Wilmington, Delaware, "for outstanding and faithful service to your parish and the diocese."
Hanley's website is Oblations.org; find him on Facebook.