With her newest novel UNDER THE BEETLE'S CELLAR, extraordinary suspense novelist Mary Willis Walker proves why she is one of the best and hottest new writers in the genre.Mary Willis Walker has penned an absorbing tale filled with characters suffering from all too human flaws and strengths. This is a truly powerful and emotional novel that readers will find hard to forget.

As a reporter for the Lone Star Magazine, Molly Cates has made a reputation for herself as a tough, no-nonsense writer capable of dealing with the twisted evils of the world. This time, however, even Molly can't bear to venture too far into the mind of the Prophet Samuel Mordecai, leader of the Hearth Jezreelites. Mordecai is a doomsday prophet who claims that the world is about to end in 50 days. In preparation for the apocalypse, Mordecai and his followers kidnap 11 children and their bus driver, ex-Vietnam vet Walter Demming.

The children and Walter are placed deep underground in a cellar beneath the Jezreelites' compound and given barely enough food and water to stay alive. Molly is the first to discover that Mordecai is adopted and that years ago he searched unsuccessfully for his biological mother. Could this be the bargaining chip they need to save the children?

Meanwhile, Walter has his hands full trying to keep himself and his 11 young charges from going insane. To help pass the time, Walter begins telling the kids about the adventures of Jacksonville, the turkey vulture and his friend Lopez, the armadillo. Walter and the kids soon realize that if it comes down to a fight, they will need their own battle plan...if they are to survive.

(July, 311 pp., $5.99)

Reviewed by: 
Jill M. Smith