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October 26, 2004 > The Stickman and the Crow, A Halloween Adventure

The Stickman and the Crow, A Halloween Adventure

by Ceri Hitchcock-Hodgson

A scary and sometimes risquè Halloween tale for adults, The Stickman and the Crow, by Joseph Peebles, is sure to keep you turning each spine-tingling page. A haunted tale set amid the original 13 colonies, this quick read is perfect for Hallow's Eve.

In 1609, Sir Henry Hudson, famed English explorer, was hired by the Dutch East India Company to explore the Northwest Passage. In September of the same year, he and his crew sailed into the icy, snow-covered river (later to be renamed the Hudson) and landed at what would come to be known as New York Harbor. Deciding to make camp for the winter, Hudson and his crew took refuge on Long Island where, within a cave, they discovered a treasure-trove.

Unfortunately for Hudson, greed set in and his mutinous men set Hudson, his son, with a few loyal followers adrift in a small life boat. The mutineers made maps of the discovery and sailed back to Europe but not before turning against one of their own, Pablo Figarora, burning out his eyes and leaving him stranded in a cave somewhere in New York. Figarora, a celebrated lancer, is befriended by a large crow that becomes his eyes and together they seek justice. Together they are "The Stickman and the Crow".

The Stickman and the Crow takes place in 1789, some 180 years after the swindling and strange things have started to happen in one of the original 13 colonies. Legend has it that once every five years, the Pointed Stickman (named so for his pointed lance) haunts the colony and that time has come again. The fateful maps of Hudson's expedition have been discovered and Aristocrats are winding up dead. The culprits are said to be the blinded mutineer and his seeing-eye crow, determined to protect the cave and treasure that lies within, sparing no one who crosses their path.

Dante Cicero, a young privileged attorney, has been assigned the task of investigating the string of colonial murders that appear to be connected to the Stickman. In exchange for his work on the case, Cicero is promised to be the newborn nation's first Secretary of Treasury, a position already promised to Alexander Hamilton. The deal is too tempting to resist and Cicero takes the case, unaware of the vengeful spirit he is about to hunt.

The book is reminiscent of a frightening campfire tale. Doorbells "ding-a-ling a ling", crows "caw caw caw" and fleeing aristocrats cry "Help! Help! Help!" At one point, Amber, a beautiful maiden along for the hunt, falls into a possessed-like state and reveals deeper secrets about Hudson's doomed voyage.

The Stickman and the Crow ends up more than a haunting Halloween tale. It is history and horror rolled in to one satisfying scary tale for your frightening pleasure this Halloween.

The Stickman and the Crow
Joseph Peebles
157 pages; $5.95
Peebco Publishing

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