Book Jacket


rank 854
word count 96342
date submitted 29.05.2010
date updated 29.02.2012
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Crime
classification: moderate

No Evil Shall I Fear, Part 1

Joseph Sweeney

Young artist, seeking answers to father’s suicide and mother's identity, finds disturbing diaries revealing murders in Nazi Germany and a village in 1950's Ireland.


Boston, 1990 - A reclusive writer is found dead in his study - branded on his body what appear to be the initials of his daughter, Maurie Cairns. Plagued with nightmares from early childhood, Maurie embarks on a search that will lead her to an unspeakable discovery.

By means of diaries, some by a woman she fears may have been her mother, Maurie uncovers a series of horrific murders, from Norway in the 1930s, to Nazi Germany, to a remote island off the Donegal coast in the late fifties.

A clairvoyant from Uzbekistan, a miraculous escape from the Nazis on the old gypsy trails across Europe, refuge in a monastery in Tibet, a castle in Westphalia where women were burnt as witches in the 17th century, a former convent used by a commune of female war refugees off the Irish coast, a set of strange paintings and artefacts…

Extraordinary encounters, characters, places and stories lead Maurie in the end to appalling revelation - the truth about her mother, her father's guilt-ridden past, and the discovery that the nightmares that have terrified her since her childhood are not simply horrors created by her imagination, but based on real events.

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, art, author, berlin, boats, boston, carvings, coastal village, corpses, cowls, daughter, evil, father, fear, fishermen, germany, horror, ireland, is...

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Tom Bye wrote 1297 days ago

Have read chunks of this book. It is a very well written and very detailed book, researched for detail which makes it all the more enjoyable. that it mentioned Ireland in the pitch, brought me in for the read' good man yerself'
and ' a pint of guinness for the prodigal son from Inishowen'
The dialogue certainly brings it along at a nice pace throughout' had me glued to the pages'
backed with pleasure and six stars
tom bye ' from hugs to kisses'
if time please look at mine about a child growing up in dublin in the 40s

John Connor wrote 1310 days ago

Joseph, having now finished reading the whole of the MS here, my initial comments are:-

Up Side

Good story, nice twists, and strong characters to a degree, though I felt the pace was a little bumpy in places (some fo the descriptive breakaways making the flow pause a little too much for my tastes.) It's also complete which is another added advantage, but having said that, there are also hooks within that are excellent for pulling the reader's curiosity and encouraging them to read further to find out more about the characters and their relationships/experiences.

Down Side

Can be flowery in places (overly descriptive - give the reader some credit for intelligence in regard to moving the characters around, or how they interact.) It also seems a too overly dystopic in atmosphere - the reader needs hope, and in some respects they can only get it if the characters themselves have hope that their situations will improve. Sometimes it's a touch too disparing for my tatest - but that might just be me.


As an exercise, take the MS and see if you can edit it down to 80,000 words. It means discarding over 15,000, but if you can do that, and still feel happy about the finished product, then you've tightened it up and also gotten over the love afair with the book-child you've created. It also helps to take out other 'technicals' such as repetative wording (my problem on the last novel was the use of 'reflexively' - and the more you strip away the more the 'overuse' becomes apparent.)

And, as Mark below states, this is gnere fiction - something that the 'arty lierarti' tend to look down on.

Backed with pleasure

Mark Engineer wrote 1325 days ago

OK, Joseph, here's my two cents, for what it's worth. Firstly, while I'm still not sure exactly what literary fiction is (ironic, as I aspire to writing it!), I don't reckon this is it. I reckon this is a well-written thriller. So, if I were you, I'd ditch the literary tag. It will stand you in good stead, as many people who love thrillers could be put off by it before they've even looked at the book.
You have two real strengths, particularly for a book of this type - a way of writing that evokes mood (particularly unease), and the ability to draw the reader in with effective hooks and compelling characters. The prologue, though not perfect, clearly shows the first of these strengths. Very atmospheric! "to see the new sun, or the old moon" - I really liked that phrase. One niggle - the knock at the door - an immediate idea of her feelings upon hearing it would have been more effective.
The descriptions of the paintings were great, both in technical terms and the way they gave a subtle insight into Maurie's personality. The next chapter, her reminiscences of her father's party, ostensibly to "celebrate his life", was also adroitly done, building futher on her character and developing her father's. You've a nice little Freudian nightmare brewing here, and a deepening of mystery. This continues into the next chapter, with the discovery of the body. Loved the fish story at the end of this chapter. This is as far as I've got.
Generally, you write well, with some very good similes - reporters "scooping out his insides", for example. Sometimes you lose suspense through using an unneccesary phrase - for example, the use of "three weeks earlier" at the start of Chapter Two. Let the reader figure that one out! I'm not sure if her reminiscing about the party in the middle of a phone call seemed realistic. You also have a tendency to repeat words twice in one sentence - "woke" and "woken" in the opening line, "mounds" and "mounds" and "window" and "window" soon after. Why not "window" and "glass"? But these are nothing an edit won't take care of.
All in all, I liked it a lot, was very happy to back it, and look forward to reading more.
Mark Engineer (A Room Full of Ghosts)

briantodd wrote 1346 days ago

Dear Joseph

Continuing from my previous comment on 'No Evil Shall I Fear' I am happy to report that the plot kept me rivetted and guessing until the last line of the text you have uploaded. Clairvoyant Madame Tolle couldn't help Maurie much and seems to have been scared off rather in the same way that the priest in the 'Exorcist' was scared away by the realisation that real evil was present.Other questions keep on coming. The '?' key on your keyboard must be worn out. Character after character is introduced mainly after Maurie finds diaries and other written material in her fathers house. Steadily with the help of her friends and Adolphe, an old colleague of her fathers more information is uncovered about the dark past, but each snippet leads to more questions. Several women appear in these diaries who could potentially be Mauries mother. Most striking is the woman variously known as Larssen/Schneider/O'Hara who came to know her father after a life involving patricide/witchcraft/Nazi medical experimentation (although appears to have been abhorred by this and the 'final solution' when she learned of it) and possibly other evil doings in Ireland. Maurie is advised to forget the disturbed and possibly evil events of the past which her father seems to have kept hidden from her ( I would have burnt these diaries!) but she feels drawn to uncover the truth. I do think that you rely too much on the diaries and other written testimony. I would have liked to have seen Maurie get on that plane earlier and seen Skallern Island and Cruach Beag for herself, uncovering some evidence personally, rather than have various written accounts on the disturbing and tragic happenings over the years. Also some of the diary entries read more like the diarists were novelists so dont fit well in the structure, but this could easily be resolved. Her father's 'actual' part novel and finally Maureen's letter do seem authentic however. The latter serves mostly to underline the story so far but again raises more questions than it answers. I wasnt sure how Maurie could possibly believe that Maureen was her real mother after reading her letter. She clearly couldnt possibly be. At present you have left the whole Frau Schneider story hanging in the air. She is clearly at the dark heart of events and probably responsible for Mauries nightmares. I think Maurie should be concerning herself more with her towards the end of what you have uploaded, particularly as the women at Mt Clements wear the same sort of outfits that she has nightmares about.There is no mention of whether the spooky Mt Clements community still exists. Its a great plot but could be a bit pacier. I would get rid of any repetitions of information ( Maurie tends to repeat some concerns ). I also noticed Bo ' preventing this great bear of a man' etc. repeated twice on the same page. You mention that the book is complete. This is one reader who needs to see how it all ends.



marc henri wrote 1360 days ago

I like the line 'Her lips sealed forever' - very dramatic.

briantodd wrote 1364 days ago

Dear Joseph

Am breaking a rule I set for myself when I joined this site by commenting before I have finished a book. I've read 10 chapters only of 'No evil shall I fear.' Ill be reading the rest over the weekend. One question Ive been asking myself repeatedly since joining the site is why 5*/6* books such as this languish at 450 after many months when others, vastly inferior in every way ,achieve rapid success. The pitch of this suggests a disturbing story of nightmares , suicides, murder, and other unspeakable goings on, across various northern european countries over a long time period. The reality is that the tragic heart of the story is the cris de coeur of a young woman, Maurie, damaged by the early death of her mother and her fathers estrangement, silence and emotional abuse. Her relationship with him is so poor that she thought she had come from an orphanage and that she had no mother until an adored nanny indicated the truth and was sacked for her trouble. The reader uncovers further snippets of information regarding this unhappy families history at the same time as the MC Maurie does. The death of her reclusive multi Pulitzer winning father, who barely acknowledged her existence, uncovers intriguing question after question and so far very few answers. Did her mother drown ? Why does her father want his ashes scattered in Ireland ? What is the significance of the scars on his body? The past haunts the present in this story and the tension mounts as Maurie consults a gypsy healer to help her understand her nightmares and analyse her past. The plot is compelling, absolutely rivetting. I feel myself hanging on every word and weighing its significance. The solution to this mystery may lie within Maurie's subconscious but we know from the pitch that some sort of quest is also involved. A passage written about the legendary Celtic hero Cuchulain is inspired heartfelt prose. I found myself aching to see the picture Maurie describes as well as the dark Apocalypse portraits she paints herself and then destroys.Its all powerful stuff and if the high quality is maintained to the end this book it must surely slow burn its way to the ED. The only criticism I have is the tendency for action scenes to be interrupted. In the first page the action of the Mountie arriving at Mauries remote home is interrupted by a beautifully written reminiscence but this should be placed elsewhere. A key scene when Maurie is speaking on the phone to the family solicitor is interrupted by a memory of the extraordinary 'last supper' party her father had arranged for his 65 th birthday. It is a fascinating sequence but should again be placed so as not to interrupt the dialogue between Maurie and the solicitor in my view. Despite these quibbles I think this is a brilliant book and all authonomists whatever their preferred genre should take a look at it.



Sandra Davidson wrote 1367 days ago

Joseph, I have backed your book with great pleasure. Your story is compelling, the beginning reminding me of telling ghost stories around a camp fire. I've only gotten as far as chapter 8, but will read it until the end. Something I rarely do here on authonomy.

I do have a couple of suggestions for you, if you don't mind. Try not to mix your dialogue from one character, with action or dialogue from another character in the same paragraph. Whenever action or dialogue shifts to another character, start a new paragraph.

Also, avoid using the same word twice in a sentence, or even in sentences close together. For instance the word hospital was used twice in the same sentence. You can always find another word to replace one of them.

Is there some reason why your story is set in 1990 instead of 2010? Is it important to your story?

Some of your analogies are memorable and remind me of Dean Koontz. You are an exciting writer, and I am eager to finish reading your chapters.

Sandra Davidson author of Cold Moon Rising and The Crying Madonna, both on authonomy and in need of comments and backings.

marc henri wrote 1367 days ago

Like the first chapter. Will save to read more for later.

rleonard wrote 1379 days ago

Dear Joseph,

I love a good crime thriller. The premise of your story caught my eye, and I liked the opening. the story seems goo, but could use some additional editing. I noticed several places where the same word or sounding word is used within the same sentence.
"She turned to the window and pressed her forhead to the ice-cold window. She gripped the window catch and jerked it open."
Perhaps the second 'window' could be replaced with the word "glass" or "pane", and the third could be removed all thoether. We already know she is standing at a window getting ready to open it.
I think this story has great potential with a few edit sessions. Good luck!
The heritage Series, Bloodline

Colin Eston wrote 1380 days ago

Dear Joseph

I contacted you a while ago, suggesting a swap read, so here I am going first.

Your opening description is very atmospheric. Then the dialogue about the paintings - convincing, revealing, but a touch too long, I felt. Prioritise parts of the dialogue that are essential to Maurie's state of mind.

You write with flair and authority. Occasional typos need proof-reading (various mentioned by previous readers) and wolve's - should be wolves'. But overall, a satisfying read that arouses interest and encourages reading on.

Colin Eston
Dying for Love

Laurence Howard wrote 1385 days ago

Drawn in by the pitch and intriguing first chapter. Skilfully written, vivid descriptions and well contived dialogue. This deserves to be successful.Backed.
Laurence Winchester,
The Cross of Goa

shornexe wrote 1394 days ago

Backed this. Very strong synopsis and a compelling opening. One observation - watch the repeated words in same sentence / paragraph. E.g. in the prologue - woke / woken, window, sound.
Best of luck with your writing
The Six Acts

marywood18 wrote 1394 days ago

The support I have had during my illness has meant so much to me and has kept my book afloat whilst I was unable to attend to reviewing and backing. I am now feeling a lot better and will be visiting the site and playing my part once more, though for a while I cannot fully participate by writing out my comments for each one, so, I am backing without comment, other than this note, which I have cut and pasted to all. However, if you require a comment, let me know and I will try to oblige as soon as I can. Otherwise, you can take it that, by backing your book, I enjoyed your work. Love, Mary – Oh, by the way. I am making it my mission to help prevent breast cancer in the older woman by asking everyone to ensure you remind every woman in your family over the age of fifty to not miss her mammogram appointments. I had no outward sign of the malignant cancer inside my breast. My mammogram showed it up before it had time to migrate to my lymph nodes and so, saved my life. A little reminder could save the lives of the women you love. Thank you.

Jaye Hill wrote 1399 days ago

Wonderful hook start, but then more goodies to follow - the anguished inhuman, cowled figures, leaping animals in the waves, the black dogs. And at the same time we are introduced via some clever dialogue to Maurie's father, her agent and to some extent herself - the very fact that she disowns the paintings tells us something about her. So well drawn characters, functional as well as accurate dialogue, a wonderful setting to start with, very assured writing I loved the dawn creeping tiny and grey as a mouse- I could go on! Backed with great ease, Jaye (the Fantasy Trip and Runa Seven)

JD Revene wrote 1400 days ago


Good prologue. First chapter opens well.

An observation on the dialogue, at times you have one character's words in a line with another character's action, which can be confusing, especially with few tags employed. An example is:

'Are these really your?' She made no reply.

Quincey's words, but Maurie's reaction.

It's a fascinating opening chapter, though, dark and foreboding.

And a lot is revealed in that dialogue, beyond what is said.


Walden Carrington wrote 1403 days ago

No Evil Shall I Fear is a gripping and engaging novel. Your descriptive detail create vivid images and the reader easily escapes into the enthralling narrative. Backed with enthusiasm.

corichaffee wrote 1407 days ago

I have read the first two chapters and am completely engrossed in it. You have a compelling writing style with natural dialogue. I am backing this with pleasure and can't wait until I have some more free time to read more!


OliverJai wrote 1408 days ago

Hi There
Love the pitch. Will read once I've finished current books. On my WL

Frank James wrote 1410 days ago

Hi Joseph (No Evil Shall I Fear),
This is my first time to read anything you have written. Very polished piece of work, something you should be proud of. I'm BACKING it and you have my best wishes for the future.

Frank James (The Contractor)

CarolinaAl wrote 1411 days ago

You populated this enthralling thriller with interesting and well-fleshed out characters. Fabulous descriptions. Fresh dialogue. Compelling narrative. Your storyline is intriguing. Smooth, tailored writing. A joy to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans wrote 1413 days ago

You have written a very interesting and unique storyline, which I do like, and created a most memorable main character in Maurie. The dialogue is realistic and well written and the pace of your story flows well. All of this along with your descriptive writing makes your work a pleasure to read. Backed.

Andrew Burans
The Reluctant Warrior: The Beginning

First Misha wrote 1414 days ago

Hi Joseph,
Really enjoyed the the story so much I only put it down once, and would recommend it to anyone. I think the only thing it needs is some editing.
Best regards
Misha Trent

Barry Wenlock wrote 1419 days ago

Hi Joseph,
This is very good writing. The tense prologue with Maurie alone in the house and hearing the jangling of chains outside and then the banging on the door, is very tense and well-drawn. I had to read more.
The flashback to Maurie's Midnight meeting with Quincey Lovett is excellent -- you explore so much with your concept of the Apocalyptic paintings. Are they really her work, what do they say about her and her recurring, forgotten nightmare?What is the significance of their similarities and subtle differences?
I'm gripped.
Backed with pleasure,

Jim Darcy wrote 1423 days ago

Chapters 1 to 5. Well written, literary in style and a compelling read. Description is vivid and appeals to the senses. Dialogue is believable and appropriate. Characterisation is lightly but convincingly done. Recommended by a friend and I can see why. Well done.
Jim Darcy
The Firelord's Crown

Jedda wrote 1424 days ago

I have read and enjoyed the first 6 chaps of your book. Maurie's relationship with her father sets a scene which encourages the reader to find out what is behind it all. I shall come back to find out about the marks on his body and the connection with Ireland. If I have any comment to make it is about Maurie not having a phone and being offered the mountie's. You write that she dialled the number.Assuming the mountie's proffered phone was a mobile she wouldn't be able to dial just press the numbers.Sorry to be a nit pick but the rest is so good that this stood out. Backed, Anne

Frank James wrote 1424 days ago

Hi joe, (Scallern legacy)

Great book my friend. Well written, characters and plots very well thought out. I'm BACKING it and it will be on my shelf for a little while.

Frank James (The Contractor)

Vall wrote 1424 days ago

Added to WL - have read 1st Chapter and looking forward to reading more.

M.A. Anderson wrote 1428 days ago

Have added your book to my watchlist.

The Ark And The Aroma Of Peril wrote 1440 days ago

very impressive work. All the best.
S. vinay kumar

philip john wrote 1448 days ago

Very, very good stuff. Written in precisely the style the genre demands. Well done!

Philip John

ALPACAJUNCTION wrote 1454 days ago

I like the idea, but I think you really need to sit with a red pencil and slash adverbs and adjectives. You (and I have this same problem) use them a bit too much. I also noted you use the same words over and over again in some paragraphs or very near one another. EX: in para begining with "She could not sleep" read through it and you will find that it ends with the word "flames". The next para's first sentence ends with "flames". Next ex: para starts with "It recalled the the long feverish nights....." the words "nights" and "night" are used twice each for 4 references to night. The use of the same word over and over hurts your writing. Easy to make a mistake like that but you can easily correct it. Backed because I think your work has promise. Regards, Gordon Kuhn

Elizabeth Wolfe wrote 1459 days ago

Dear Joseph,
This book filled with mystery historical references is very intriguing and well written. Finding the truth about one's family is a compelling theme, particularly with the connection to the Nazis. I think you have an excellent book here!

Elizabeth Wolfe (MEMORIES OF GLORY)

Here is your chance to get a double backing. My friend, homewriter, and I have similar taste in writing and trust each other's judgment. Back my book and leave it on your bookshelf. Then do the same for his, "The Harpist of Madrid." Once the backings register, he will give you a return backing guaranteed. Just let him know in an email that you've backed my book as well as his. You might have to be a bit patient as we're 6 time zones apart. But you'll have two backings guaranteed on your excellent book. Of course, comments are always welcome too!

T. L. Bartush wrote 1462 days ago

Joseph, I happened upon your book. I like it. Not perfect yet but a cut above. If you want me to back it I will. Let me know.

T. L. Bartush

what is this? wrote 1471 days ago

Niall Herriott backs this book after reading the first 7 chapters and will read on as the suspense is building up!

Jack Hughes wrote 1471 days ago

Impressive opening and intriguing synopsis. I will put this one on the watch-list. Best of luck Joseph.

Jack Hughes
Dawn of Shadows

rosebud63 wrote 1474 days ago

This sounds good, I will read on.

Linda Lou wrote 1474 days ago

hullo Joseph. what a creepy story. not sure if that is what you intended but that is what came out. Great flow leading the reader from one chapter to the next. you might consider breaking up the flow a bit more when you make reference to past events in the MC's life to more clearly seperate the space in time. Very good. Already shelved and backed.
Please take a look at my book if you have not and thanks for that.
Linda Lou Long
Southern dis-Comfort

zenup wrote 1474 days ago

Ooh, Munch's 'Scream', you've got me. IMO 'I Shall Fear No Evil' is much more powerful, as a title, as a phrase.
Backed. Just the sort of book I'd take on a long plane trip.

M.H.Thonger wrote 1475 days ago

very good. backed. Please look at 'the compulsive traveller' if you have time. Thanks Mike

Butler's Girl wrote 1476 days ago

A wonderful tale of mystery and suspense.
Needs a rewrite, but very good. (Too many sentences beginning with "she", avoid repetition.)
Alison Butler

rab14 wrote 1477 days ago

I could read more of this. It's a good old-fashioned tale of mystery and suspense, the type to read when you're curled up in front of a log fire on a cold and windy night. THe apocalypse paintings, especially the forth one are sure to become significant. What is waiitng for Maurie in Inishowen House? Good luck with this . Backed Rab14

rab14 wrote 1477 days ago

I could read more of this. It's a good old-fashioned tale of mystery and suspense, the type to read when you're curled up in front of a log fire on a cold and windy night. THe apocalypse paintings, especially the forth one are sure to become significant. What is waiitng for Maurie in Inishowen House? Good luck with this . Backed Rab14

rab14 wrote 1477 days ago

I could read more of this. It's a good old-fashioned tale of mystery and suspense, the type to read when you're curled up in front of a log fire on a cold and windy night. THe apocalypse paintings, especially the forth one are sure to become significant. What is waiitng for Maurie in Inishowen House? Good luck with this . Backed Rab14

rab14 wrote 1477 days ago

I could read more of this. It's a good old-fashioned tale of mystery and suspense, the type to read when you're curled up in front of a log fire on a cold and windy night. THe apocalypse paintings, especially the forth one are sure to become significant. What is waiitng for Maurie in Inishowen House? Good luck with this . Backed Rab14

rab14 wrote 1477 days ago

I could read more of this. It's a good old-fashioned tale of mystery and suspense, the type to read when you're curled up in front of a log fire on a cold and windy night. THe apocalypse paintings, especially the forth one are sure to become significant. What is waiitng for Maurie in Inishowen House? Good luck with this . Backed Rab14

Leslie Rocker wrote 1478 days ago

This is an enjoyable, well-written story and I would like to have read more than that uploaded here. I am happy to back it. My only cavil is that I could not see the logic of the prologue. Usually this device covers an incident disconnected from the main thrust of the story by time or theme. In this case it runs directly on to chapter 2. Chapter 1, on the other hand, breaks the thread and perhaps would make a more appropriate prologue. This is not meant as a criticism, only as the impression of an objective reader.
As you apparently do, incidentally, I try to write the kind of "pure English prose" adopted by, among others, the best Irish writers, such as Bernard Shaw and James Joyce (in his early work). So you might like to take a look at either Adam's Apple or Tiger's Heart, both of which seem to be languishing in the ranking doldrums at the moment.
Leslie Rocker

mindrose wrote 1479 days ago

What a pleasure to read a good story with decent spelling, grammar and punctuation. I wish other writers understood how distracting these things are when they're wrong. But apart from the technical stuff! Your pitch is colourful and gripping, and the story turns out to be no disappointment. Natural dialogue, varied action. Just my kind of book. I'm just skimming this evening, but greatly enjoying the fascinating mystery where touches of the supernatural mingle with recent European history. BACKED without hesitation.

Joseph Sweeney wrote 1479 days ago

Thanks Stewart. Hope to see you in The Long Valley in Cork if you make it. Monday 9pm. Safe journey home! Joe

Excellent stuff...full of imagery and colour just the way it should be . Everything fits really well and shows your craftsmanship with the pen...very impressive indeed! No old blarney here that's for the way how is the place? I used to live in Glanmire now in HK (ex-UCC)...I'll be back in a few weeks for a holiday!
Good luck

mars mc wrote 1479 days ago

Great read, excellent title. Tension is maintained throughout the book. Great poetic lines. Would like to read more.

Rosanna Davison wrote 1481 days ago

A great friend and truly gifted writer.
Backed all the way.