Keeper of the Children by William H. Hallahan
Hardcover – Centipede Press – May 2022 – 255 pages
Eddie Benson is a typical middle-class father with a secure job, a home in suburban Philadelphia, and a seemingly happy family. For Benson life holds no fear or terror.
Then something unusual happens. One day his daughter, Renni, a normal, fun-loving fourteen-year-old, disappears. Soon after, Eddie finds her wandering the streets of Philadelphia with a band of children. Dressed in orange robes, they bear drums and tambourines and cymbals. Moving through the crowds, they dance and sing and proffer metal bowls for coins. The children refuse to return to their homes. The youngsters, their parents have learned, are living with a mysterious Tibetan monk with strange, otherworldly powers.
What follows is a series of bone-chilling incidents, each more violent than the last, all inexplicable. Only Eddie Benson will not abandon hope. And to rescue his child, Eddie must run a terrible risk, one that could cost him his life and his soul. What Eddie Benson finally decides to do brings this novel to a stunning denouement. Eddie must become engaged in an extraordinary combat, battle that no other human has ever fought before. For all of us, his act is the ultimate act of courage.
William H. Hallahan (1925-2018) was an American author, raised in Brooklyn. He served three years in the United States Navy, then attended Temple University in Philadelphia where he obtained degrees in journalism and English.
This edition of Keeper of the Children includes a new introduction by Michael Saler, photographs and old book covers, and a bonus essay and bonus short story.