Devil’s Call

A fiction book by J. Danielle Dorn

The Revenant with witches.” —James Demonaco, screenwriter and director of The Purge series

"One of the strongest female leads we've seen in ages. Fans of horror, fantasy, and westerns alike will love this jet-fueled romp through the wild west as they follow Li Lian on a quest for vengeance that will lead her and her unborn child to the very heart of evil and despair. But hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, especially not one with a long rifle and a deadly magic touch." —Shane Keene, HorrorTalk

On a dark night in the summer of 1859, three men enter the home of Dr. Matthew Callahan and shoot him dead in front of his pregnant wife. Unbeknownst to them, Li Lian, his wife, hails from a long line of women gifted in ways that scare most folks—the witches of the MacPherson clan—and her need for vengeance is as vast and unforgiving as the Great Plains themselves.

Written to the child she carries, Devil’s Call traces Li Lian’s quest, from the Nebraska Territory, to Louisiana, to the frozen Badlands, to bring to justice the monster responsible for shooting her husband in the back. This long-rifled witch will stop at nothing — and risk everything — in her showdown with evil.

World English
Movie & TV
Foreign Lang.
Book Comps
Movie Comps
Jerry Smith, Fangoria and
The Screwtape Letters meets The Revenant—this is one of the most original tales in quite some time.
The Tracking Board
Prose evocative of a young, female Elmore Leonard—but with a contemporary and hybridizing element of magical realism that tilts toward horror. 
Read part of Devil’s Call
Chapter 1
a 16 minute read

Before I leave you in this world, my dear, I aim to record what came to pass when your momma rode from the Nebraska Territory to Louisiana to the frozen shores of Lake Superior to bring to justice the monster responsible for shooting your father in the back.

I know you will have more questions than I will be able to answer in these pages. Some of those questions, your Nana Cat will be glad to answer, as she was glad to answer mine when I began to wonder about the world and my place in it. If our path is freer and easier than it has been thus far, I will bring you to the roadhouse where I grew up not knowing who my father was, and you will grow up in a family of witches proud and strong, and one day you will understand why you did so without a mother or a father. Why there was no other way this story was going to end.

You come from a long line of women gifted in a way that scares most folks.

It was not my intention for you to come into this world not knowing your father, and I sure as hell did not intend for you to not know your mother, but what I am about to tell you is an injustice the likes of which the world has been tolerating for so long as men have walked in it. Bringing you into that kind of world is nothing your father and I envisioned when we set out to start a family. We did the best we could with what we had, which was not much. I liked to think it was enough.

You will never meet your grandfolks from your father’s side. Fever took them in his eleventh summer, and he went off to live with his aunt and his uncle in Kentucky afterwards. Learned to ride horses and be gentle with them, to shoot a musket and skin a deer. Riding would have served him well in the army same as shooting and skinning would have, but he never liked shooting and he liked to talk about his time in the army less.

Your gran may very well sell the guns your father and I owned for the whole of our lives together, but I want you to know guns are not what you have to worry about when considering violence and the ease with which men kill each other. It takes little skill and less thought to kill a man. Disease works just as fast as a bullet. Faster, sometimes.

A part of me wishes you had something solid to show you where you came from. Wishing has brought me plenty in my life, to include trouble, but it will do me no good now. I was born too early for tintypes, your father earlier, and I do not believe your gran trusts photographs anyway. She thinks photographers are thieves.

You make an image of a thing, it takes a bit of its soul away, she used to say. That’s why wax figures are so dangerous, and why they are so common in darker magick.

I have always been interested in things of that nature. Dangerous things. I like to know if they are dangerous on account of common sense saying so, or on account of ignorance saying so. If I were the sort to lack common sense, I do not suppose I would have lasted the five and twenty years I have without greater calamity coming down on me....