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CHRIS JOHNSTON - THE FAMILY CULT

The apocalyptic group The Family and their guru, Anne Hamilton-Byrne — one of very few female cult leaders in history — captured international headlines throughout the 1980s and 1990s.

Hamilton-Byrne, who some followers believed was Jesus Christ, was glamorous and charismatic — and, many allege, very dangerous. From her base in a quiet suburb, she recruited wealthy professionals to join her cult, including doctors, lawyers, nurses, architects, and scientists. She acquired children and raised them as her own, bleaching their hair blonde to make them look like siblings, and her group became surrounded by rumours of LSD use, child abuse, and strange spiritual rituals.

In 1987, police swooped on The Family’s lakeside compound and rescued children who claimed they were part of Anne’s future master race. The children recounted terrible stories of near starvation, emotional manipulation, and physical abuse. But Anne could not be found, sparking an international police hunt that involved Scotland Yard, Interpol, and the FBI. Could they bring Anne to justice?

Today, the elderly Anne has an estate estimated to be worth millions, with only one minor criminal conviction to her name. Her few remaining followers attend her nursing-home bedside.

How did such a notorious group come to flourish? How did Anne maintain a hold over her followers? And why was she never fully brought to justice?

Drawing on revelatory new research, including interviews with survivors, The Family tells for the first time in full the strange and shocking story of one of the most bizarre cults in modern history.

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7/11/2020

TOM MENDICINO - The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter

Tom Mendicino is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania and the University of North Carolina School of Law. His debut novel "Probation" (Kensington) was named a 2011 American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book and was a Lambda Literary Award finalist. His novella "Away in a Manger" appeared in the Kensington collection Remembering Christmas and his short fiction has been published in numerous anthologies. He is also the author of the new adult novellas "KC, at Bat," "Travelin' Man," and "Lonesome Town" (eKensington), a trilogy following the relationship between a promising baseball player and a would-be musician. His second novel "The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter" (Kensington) is about the powerful bond between a pair of motherless boys, the sons of an abusive immigrant from Italy, and the choices each makes to protect the other. Please visit www.tommendicinobooks.comS. Gagliano & Son has been a barber shop fixture in South Philly for decades. Frankie and Michael Gagliano’s Italian immigrant father—Luigi to his customers, Papa to his sons—presides over the store, enlisting his children as soon as they’re big enough to wield a broom. On their mother’s deathbed, eight-year-old Frankie swears that he and his little brother will always take care of each other, a vow he endeavors to keep through their father’s violent outbursts and the string of wives who try to take their mother’s place.After their father’s death, Frankie takes over the shop, transforming it to fit in with the gentrifying neighborhood. Michael becomes a successful prosecutor with a rising political career, still close to his big brother despite the differences between them. Then comes an unthinkable, impulsive act that will force Michael to choose between risking his comfortable life and keeping a sacred oath—made before he knew how powerful a promise can be.The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter is a stunning evocation of working-class Italian-American life—a story of brotherhood, loyalty, and the contradictory, unpredictable nature of family love.“The Boys from Eighth and Carpenter is a heartfelt story of two loving brothers as well as a compelling crime drama all set in the changing city of Philadelphia. Tom Mendicino is a supremely gifted writer with an eye for the most telling of details, and I loved this novel!”--Lisa Scottoline, New York Times bestselling author"At the heart of this capacious and suspenseful novel is the bond between two very different brothers, but its larger context is the Italian-American family: its values, loyalties and responsibilities. Tom Mendicino writes with honesty and compassion, and the reader can't help but root for his endearing characters."--Christopher Castellani, author of All This Talk of Love