In nearby Ybor City, Florida, fine tailor Tomas Cordero suffers both silently and publicly as he talks to the local police and firemen about a fire that started outside of his modest home. These little fires have been happening as of late and he isn't starting them, but they are connected to him. What's worse, he is haunted by his time in WWI where he manned a giant machine that spewed fire, burned enemies, and struck fear into the hearts of all who saw it. Tomas' beloved wife Evelyn passed away before he returned home from the war, having contracted influenza, and he can't help but feel that she is somehow involved in the fires, reaching out to him from beyond the grave.
When Alice and Tomas meet one another within one of his dreams, it becomes clear that Tomas must make his way to Cassadaga to meet Alice in person and that maybe she can help him decipher the message he is being sent amidst the ashes and ruin that seem to follow him. Unfortunately for Tomas, Alice, and all of the residents of Cassadaga, that which is plaguing Tomas follows him and is hell-bent on getting its message across, in whatever way it can.
Brimstone, like Cherie Priest's other brilliant novels, Maplecroft and Chapelwood, takes place in an earlier and simpler (or maybe not...) time. Her prose simply transports you back there and you can almost feel the soft sand and sticky heat as she describes Cassadaga. Personally, I adore her writing style. Brimstone is a somewhat different and standalone story, unlike The Borden Dispatches series, but I tore through it and loved every minute of it. Alice and Tomas are delightfully layered characters, as are the varied and interesting residents of Cassadaga and Tomas' close knit circle of friends in Ybor City. Plus, there's also an adorable white Chihuahua named Felipe in the mix, so what's not to love? Brimstone combines joy, sadness, wonder, and horror, all eloquently intertwined to create a memorable and beautiful story about a small town with a long history of open arms to those who are different, and it's a magical reading experience. Get your hands on it as soon as you can.