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The Crying Forest

by Venero Armanno

The Crying Forest - Venero Armanno
Editions:Paperback - First Edition
ISBN: 1925956555
Pages: 334

Short Synopsis

Agata Rosso, a once-mighty yet now prematurely aged European witch, believes that the special gifts in a young girl named Lía Munro can restore youth and vitality both to herself and her bedridden husband. She sets a deadly plan in motion to capture and use Lía—but will the girl have enough power to protect herself, plus the father she loves so much?


1940 in a small farming region, and children have disappeared from the land.

Local families—old-time Australians and newer European arrivals—know what to do about packs of wild, scavenging dogs in the forests, but they seem to have no way of finding children whose very bones have vanished from the earth. They also don’t know how to deal with the strange couple Mr and Mrs Rosso, who might just hold the key to everything—including the miraculous breaking of a ten-year drought.

Now it’s 1977 and the wider city is growing, encroaching into these outlying communities and turning pristine farmlands into new housing estates. Paul Munro and his daughter, Lía, have arrived to inspect an available property; it’s the secluded hillside old home of the Rossos. Paul and his wife—who has recently died—grew up around the area. Paul wants to show Lía the countryside of his early years, but when Lía experiences Rosso House for the first time its undeniable spell and the spirits it hides makes her understand that this is the place she really wants to be.

Just turning sixteen, grieving the loss of her mother, experiencing a spiritual awakening she doesn’t understand, Lía loves the quiet isolation and rural beauty that Rosso House and its land has to offer. At first her new life with her father seems idyllic, yet she’s soon drawn into committing a terrible act of mercy. At the same time Paul meets the beautiful and enigmatic Candela, only to become ensnared in the evils that hold her and her baby captive.

The connection between Lía’s suffering and Candela’s troubles might just be the wizened old witch, Agata Rosso. Constantly searching for a way to restore her youth and her husband’s powers, Agata soon discovers just how useful Lía could be. She sends the most ruthless of men to capture her; in parallel, the terrifying man-wolf-father of Candela’s baby will do anything to get his son back.

Lía desperately needs her father’s help; Candela is trying to escape a world of violence; both women are soon confronted by the very definition of evil. Will they find help from others, or is there some deeper answer within themselves?

The shadow-worlds of ancient evil and modern corruption collide in this supernatural thriller, blending past and present, history and fiction, into a mesmerising adventure.

Publisher: IFWG Australia
Cover Artists:
Tropes: Evolving Powers, Haunted House, I See Dead People, Inaccessible Magic, Quest, Redemption Arc, Ultimate Evil
Word Count: 100000
Setting: Australia, Italy
Languages Available: English
Tropes: Evolving Powers, Haunted House, I See Dead People, Inaccessible Magic, Quest, Redemption Arc, Ultimate Evil
Word Count: 100000
Setting: Australia, Italy
Languages Available: English

About the Author

Venero Armanno (“Veny”) was born in Brisbane, Queensland, of parents who migrated from Sicily to Australia in the early 1950s. Veny’s father was a self-employed bricklayer; for many years his mother worked as a seamstress for Freemans, a clothing factory in Fortitude Valley.

The young Veny came to books on his own, at the age of three impressing his parents by reading articles to them from the local newspapers. Though there was no history of literature of any kind in the house, Veny read everything he could find, commencing with newspapers and comics, then taking trips on the old tram system to the city library where he became well-known as a regular, and very young, visitor.

Later, Veny’s father started taking him to bricklaying jobs, which introduced a young pre-teen to the realities of hot Brisbane summers and the benefits of hard work. At nine he started Judo classes; at fifteen, Karate, achieving his first dan black belt before he was seventeen.

At just eighteen, while studying (failing, really) Law and Psychology at university, and working as a bricklayer’s labourer on weekends, Veny completed his first novel, called Darker Than Night.

Also with a love of music, around this same time Veny formed a rock band that performed the original songs he wrote for them. Success was elusive, however, and after the band folded Veny set his mind on becoming a published writer—eventually being shortlisted for the Australian-Vogel Literary Award in 1984, then producing many unpublished (“and definitely unpublishable,” he says) early novels.

Since that time success has been kinder, and Veny is now the author of ten critically acclaimed novels, including his soon-to-be-released supernatural mystery, The Crying Forest.  His other well-known books include Burning Down (2017), Black Mountain (2012), The Dirty Beat (2007) and Candle Life (2006).

Further back, Veny’s novel Firehead was shortlisted in the 1999 Queensland Premier’s Literary Award; in 2002 The Volcano won the award with Best Fiction Book of the Year.

His work has gone on to be published in the United States, France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Holland, Israel and South Korea.

Veny is a trained screenwriter and currently teaches creative writing at the University of Queensland. His other books include The Lonely Hunter (1993), Romeo of the Underworld (1994), My Beautiful Friend (1995), and Strange Rain (1997), as well as two short story collections: Jumping at the Moon (1992) and Travel Under Any Star (2016).