Convoluted pasts. Moral conflicts.

Zanni Anderson, a strong-willed blonde with wit to boot, discovers she's tangled in something more inexplicable and daunting than she could ever imagine. And she — along with a motley crew of teenage boys — are the only ones who can stop what their ancestors began.

  • The return of a trait or recurrence of previous behavior after a period of absence.
Zanni Anderson is the 17-year-old  main character and sole teenaged female in The Atavists Trilogy. She's tall, big, and blonde. (Sound familiar? Guilty.) During some tough years of high school, writing Zanni's character became an outlet for my frustrations. I wanted her to deal with the things I faced--being an outcast among my teammates/being "one of the guys"--with wit and grace. Unfortunately, I didn't capture Zanni's true personality when I first self-published Darkness Surrounding. (D'oh!)

Toby is Zanni's 17-year-old male BFF. Naturally, he's attractive, overprotective, and occasionally ill-tempered. The two have never dated. He and Sean grew up in the same neighborhood and befriended Zanni in grade school.

(I don't have a clear vision of Toby in my head, so until then...here's a picture of Shane West of A Walk to Remember.)

Sean is Zanni and Toby's blonde-haired 16-year-old childhood friend. Zanni finds him obnoxious and easy to tease.

Also known as The Stranger, Garr is an eerie 19-year-old oddity with an unusual secret.

(Ben Barnes IS Garr. Just FYI.)
I would tell you more about DeathX, but ERMAGERD spoilers. Just know that he's a deeply troubled guy that's going to give Zanni some feels to deal with.

(Inset graphic is old. CHANNING TATUM SHOULD BE IN THERE.)

DISCLAIMER: The following reviews pertain to the self-published version of Darkness Surrounding circa 2011 (which has been out of print since 2012). Please note that the excerpt linked in the navigation bar on this website is a product of my re-write efforts and did not appear in the original publication. 

► I can usually tell how much I'm going to enjoy a book based on how quickly it draws me in. With DARKNESS SURROUNDING, I was hooked from the start. It's a fascinating story about what happens when the line between fantasy and reality begins to blur...I found myself unable to put it down. — Chris, 30

► There is so much to dig up, so much more of the world of atavism that we haven't heard about yet. Mellon leaves behind a maze of intriguing mysteries, which, personally, has captured my attention ever since. I can't help but compare it to an imminent storm; the journey has just begun. — Anonymous

► I was sitting on the edge of my chair from beginning to end! — Teri, 15

► I was engaged throughout and anxious to get back to the novel each evening. My only complaint is that I didn't have Book 2 sitting on my nightstand when I reached the end! — Lori, High School Instructor

► As soon as I saw the back, I knew it would be a favorite. It's not just that she has a great story­‐line and amazing characters, it's that she digs deeper and deeper into everything that would be flat and plain otherwise. DARKNESS SURROUNDING is a curl‐up­‐under‐the­‐covers kind of book, a must read! — Cassandra

► Brilliant. Unputdownable, with a wicked storyline and believable characters. — Kay, 14 

► DARKNESS SURROUNDING was a phenomenal book! Five stars, two thumbs up. I highly recommend it. Incredibly well written and suspenseful. I can’t wait for the next one!  — Laura, 16