New Paranormal Novel Explores Child Trafficking and a Latvian Demon
International suspense and mystery author D.A. Winstead has a fascination with the paranormal as it has manifested itself in various cultures around the world. His previous novels, “The Seventh Priest” and “Southern Crosses,” were set in Sudan and South Africa respectively, and were filled with ancient mysteries, bush rituals, and the murky region where Christianity and paganism meet. Now in “Wiggle Rooms: Tale of a Fallen Anchorite,” he has turned his attention to the often overlooked country of Latvia, a country living in the shadow of its recent Communist history. When a sea storm unexpectedly strikes the country, secrets from the past are brought into the light in surprising ways.
Ten years prior to the novel’s opening, Ted Schwen, American ambassador to Latvia, lost his son, Toby. The boy mysteriously disappeared into the forest while playing hide and seek. Never proven, but highly suspected, was that a well-known Russian diplomat and pedophile took him. Now the storm has ripped off the exterior wall of the Russian’s home, revealing secret rooms where children were held captive; this finding propels Ted to return to Latvia to collect his son’s remains and to try to learn what really happened to Toby.
But beyond collecting his son’s remains, Ted has also been sensing something strange lately—a certain presence. When the embassy “witch” Jules, who claims she can see the dead, is assigned to assist him in his inquiries, Ted has confirmed what he suspects—Toby’s ghost is at his side.
But “Wiggle Rooms” is an even more complex story than just one about a father reuniting with his son-turned-ghost. Ted’s late wife’s family was Jewish, and they have a family history of having been persecuted like most Eastern European Jews, only their history also includes a mysterious encounter with an anchorite named Rebecca in a cathedral in Cracow, Poland, when they were seeking shelter from a band of Christian crusaders intent on killing them. Rebecca refused to shelter any children except young Josef Gozza and his protection in a secret room eerily mirrors Toby’s own abduction.
On the surface, the novel’s title “Wiggle Rooms” appears to refer to the hidden rooms in the Latvian house where Toby was hidden away, but it comes to have a deeper meaning in the novel as Jules explains to Ted: “The danger is opening yourself up for others to come to you because you’ll never know what might latch onto him. I’m saying that sometimes all you have to do is invite things in. After that, their perceived invitation takes the lead. They see Toby, another member of the spirit world, like them, with you. They may see it as an invitation to wiggle in and be with you, too. You don’t want a real haunting around you or your other son. It can get mean and nasty very quickly.”
Has Toby’s reappearance and the visit to the hidden rooms allowed room for another supernatural being to wiggle its way into Ted’s life? Readers will be turning pages, eager to find out how all the elements of this novel weave together into this strangely haunting tale.
Beyond his knack for creating supernatural mysteries, Winstead, who has worked in numerous embassies around the globe, brings a special realism to his depiction of the U.S. foreign service, always offering a fascinating and illuminating perspective into world and local politics as well as the culture, traditions, and history of various lands, usually lands stricken with deep sadness in their pasts. Winstead writes with empathy for his characters and offers catharsis to his readers through the difficult journeys of healing that his characters endure. Far beyond being just thrillers, Winstead’s novels create understanding of the human condition across many times and cultures.
Whether looking for a thriller, a story to scare yourself, or an escape to an unfamiliar land, readers will not be disappointed by “Wiggle Rooms” and the highly imaginative supernatural world of D.A. Winstead.