Wither, Wither's Rain, Wither's Legacy & Wendy Ward

The co-authored Wither was my first published novel. Wither won the Bram Stoker Award for First Novel and Columbia Pictures purchased the movie rights in a preemptive bid. One of the protagonists of Wither, the Wiccan Wendy Ward, became a "breakout" character and I have continued her story in the sequels to Wither, Wither's Rain and Wither's Legacy. Additional stories in the Wendy Ward timeline take up about half of my fiction collection Exit Strategy & Others.

Wendy Ward Chronology

Though the Wendy Ward novels and stories are standalone (no cliffhangers between novels or stories), they are best read in order, if possible, if only to avoid spoilers for prior books/stories in the timeline.

WITHER, WITHER'S RAIN, WITHER'S LEGACY followed by the following stories (all of which are collected in Exit Strategy & Others: "Forces of Nature" (originally published in Dark Notes from New Jersey anthology), "Breathless", "Harbinger", "Blood Alone" (originally published in The Stories In Between anthology), "Flashpoint" (featuring Kayla Zanella), exclusively available in fiction collection EXIT STRATEGY & OTHERS.

Yes, I am currently working on a fourth Wendy Ward novel.



Wither (Paperback, 3rd Edition)

WITHER by J.G. Passarella

Fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you.  If you don't watch out.

Bram Stoker Award-Winner: First Novel

Pocket Books: FEB 1999 (h/b) / MAR 2000 (p/b)
ISBN: 0-671-02481-7 | $7.99 US $11.99 CAN

Bram Stoker Award Winner (emblem)

Places to Order:
(Unless you are willing to pay high "POD" trade paperback pricing, your best bet is to look for the eBook!)
Barnes & Noble
Powell's Books
Or shop local with
For UK orders:
Amazon UK

Interesting Fact: The hardbound Wither cover is embedded in the tombstone on the paperback cover, with an added "R.I.P."

SYNOPSIS: Late in the Seventeenth Century, a coven of witches terrorized the small New England town of Windale. Three hundred years later the evil force has reawakened to begin a new cycle. Now Wendy Ward, a college freshman and practicing white witch, Karen Glazer, a pregnant professor and Abby MacNeil, an abused eight-year-old girl must find a way to survive the reborn coven and the monstrous horror that is Wither.

FEB 2014 marked the 15th Anniversary of the Publication of my first (co-authored) novel, WITHER. To celebrate, I made a Vine of the novel's Bram Stoker Award!

Reviews in Brief

"Stephen King fans will love this one."

"Mighty creepy... [a] chilling book."

"A lot of fun."

"A powerful new voice in horror."

"A classic [of] the supernatural... terrifying and hair-raising"
—CLIVE CUSSLER, New York Times Bestselling Author


Reviews (extended)

"Wither is an unforgettable story of witchcraft and suspense. Passarella writes page-turning blockbusters."
DOUGLAS CLEGG, Bram Stoker and International Horror Guild Award-Winning Author of The Hour Before Dark and Afterlife

"Wither belongs on the classics shelf with Frankenstein and Dracula... [the] witches are a unique evil... in horror fiction."

"Stephen King fans will love this one."

"I spent the last week of my life completely glued to Wither. What a book! Some of the most amazing witches ever. Great horror!"
—MICHAEL LAIMO, author of Atmosphere

"[Wither] hits the groove that makes TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer such a kick."

"[Wither] immediately [went on] my shortlist of best horror, fantasy and suspense, one of the few in recent memory."
—DALLAS MAYR [a.k.a., JACK KETCHUM], Author of The Girl Next Door

"[Wither is] the most enjoyable horror novel I've read in a long time. Great job. Congratulations."
JOHN R. PLATT, Author, Former President, Garden State Horror Writers

"Wow! I can't believe this is his first novel. I've been literally spellbound from page one. Having been a practicing witch all of my life, I appreciate the homework Mr. Passarella has done with Wendy. I'd recommend this book to anyone."
As reviewed by RHIANNON SILVERWOLF on August 1, 1999 on SimonSays.com (official Simon & Schuster website)


Witch & Witchcraft Facts

Historical Fact: In countries where witchcraft was considered a heresy, convicted witches were burned at the stake. In countries where witchcraft was considered a felony, such as England and the American colonies, witches were hung.

Witchcraft Mythology: The "witch's teat" was a bit of inhuman, unfeeling (and therefore cold) flesh on the body of a witch through which the Devil or the witch's familiar, in the Devil's place, would suck blood from the witch. It was believed that the soul flowed in the blood and that the Devil owned the witch's soul and so fed through the witch's teat.

Historical Definition: Many accused witches were convicted because of spectral evidence. In the Salem witch trials, the accusers testified that they could see the specters or apparitions (astral projections?) of the accused witches leaving the witches' bodies to torment them. Usually, only the accusers could see these apparitions, but the testimony was considered legitimate and was the cause for many of the convictions in Salem in 1692.

Historical Fact: male practitioners of witchcraft were referred to in trial evidence as wizards not warlocks.

Crushed Under Stones: [Historical Fact] an accused mail witch - or wizard - was crushed beneath stones in an attempt to get him to elicit a confession.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Q: Can you explain the copyright in WITHER and WITHER'S RAIN?

A: The copyright for WITHER'S RAIN should read "Copyright © 2003 by John Passarella." The copyright for WITHER remains "Copyright © 1999 by Joe Gangemi and John Passarella." WITHER was co-authored (by Joe Gangemi and John Passarella) under the the single pen name J.G. Passarella. WITHER was written by John Passarella alone and the copyright should reflect that. Therefore, the copyright in WITHER'S RAIN is incorrect. Passarella comments, "Hey, that might make the first edition of WITHER'S RAIN a collector's item! Buy a bunch of copies. Just in case.<wink>"

Q: What's the status of the feature film version of WITHER?

A: Manifest Films (a Hollywood production company) bought the film rights to Wither in November 1997 via Columbia Pictures. Manifest hired a screenwriter, who has submitted several scripts. Unfortunately, the studio did not like any of those scripts enough to greenlight (i.e., finance the production of) the film. For now, the movie version of Wither is stuck at the script stage.

Q: Will the film rights to Wither ever revert to you (and your co-author)?

A: No. Columbia bought (permanent) film rights to the book; they did not purchase an option on the film rights. Options renew after a period of time, usually on an annual basis, for a period of years. Eventually, an option might revert ownership to the author(s). Colubmia bought Wither outright. Unless they sell the rights to another production company or studio, they retain the film rights forever, for all intents and purposes.

Q: Is Wither part of a book series?

A: While Wither was not originally intended as a series novel, I have since taken Wendy Ward, my main character from Wither and turned her into a series character. Wither's Rain and Wither's Legacy are stand-alone sequels to Wither. Unlike Wither, Wither's Rain and Wither's Legacy are not co-authored. In addition to those sequels, I have written several stories (featured in Exit Strategy & Others) that continue Wendy Ward's timeline post Wither's Legacy. A fourth novel is in progres.

Q: Do I have to read Wither to enjoy (and understand) the sequels and Wendy Ward stories?

A: Strictly speaking, no. If you start with Wither's Rain, the events from Wither work as backstory. In other words, you'll find out what you need to know in Wither's Rain. Obviously, I hope you will have a more rewarding experience by reading the books in order. While I intend Wither's Rain, Wither's Legacy and the Wendy Ward stories to stand on their own merits, my characters evolve (i.e., grow older, move away, die, etc.) Just be warned that by reading books out of order, you will encounter spoilers concerning earlier entries in the series.


Wither's Rain

A Wendy Ward Novel

Wither's Rain: A Wendy Ward Novel

A Wendy Ward Novel
Don't trust what you know...

Pocket Star Books:
FEB 2003
$7.99 US (2nd Printing)
ISBN: 0-671-02482-5

Read the thrilling stand-alone sequel to WITHER.

Places to Order:
(Unless you are willing to pay high "POD" trade paperback pricing, your best bet is to look for the eBook!)
Barnes & Noble
Powell's Books
Or shop local with
For UK orders:
Amazon UK

SYNOPSIS: When the ancient, demonic entity once known as Elizabeth Wither finds a human host, a new reign of terror begins in the town of Windale, Massachusetts. Now Wendy Ward, a college student with a gift for white magic, stands alone against the evil of Wither's rain.

Order a signed, personalized copy at the Passarella Bookstore Page.


"WITHER'S RAIN crept up on me like an eerie mist. I've been reading and writing horror too long to expect to be scared. But I was—very scared. Delightful!"
—WHITLEY STRIEBER, The #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Hunger, The Last Vampire, and Lilith's Dream

"Thrilling, chilling, and utterly impossible to put down, WITHER'S RAIN will haunt you long after its final page. John Passarella shines with the brightest stars in the horror novel galaxy. He's an author to watch!"
—MAGGIE SHAYNE, New York Times Bestselling Author of Embrace the Twilight

"This is sophisticated writing, with beautifully-crafted plots, characters to adore, characters to fear and a residual nightmare or two. Besides being an all-absorbing tale of evil vs. good, WITHER'S RAIN is an illuminating education into Wicca... there are shocking moments, and horrifying deaths, all of which add to the story, and wreak nearly as much havoc on the reader as the town. Wendy's plight and Wither's evil grabbed me by the collar and dragged me around for two days. I was hooked — you might even say possessed — by WITHER'S RAIN." Four stars."
—The Joe Bob Briggs Report (Read the full review here.)

"[Passarella's] characters are wonderfully human and flawed. Though Wendy always tries to do the right thing, her good intentions sometimes turn out to be mistakes. Passarella also does a wonderful job portraying the familial fear of Wendy's former professor, Karen Glazer, whose daughter Hannah is growing and developing at a greatly accelerated rate... The pacing is strong and th 9-feb-09 ng] climax... Though there are certainly more than enough literary touches, such as interior monologues, his style is very visual and plays on the mind's inner movie screen in full cinematic splendor. "In short, this is an easy-to-read, hard-to-put-down horror thriller that satisfies. It's a great beach book, and would make a fine companion for a sunny day or a stormy night alike."
HELLNOTES Newsletter, 6.19.2003
(excerpted Garrett Peck review)

"The First Great Novel of 2003! An outstanding sequel to... WITHER. If you're looking for a great book to curl up with and read while the snow/rain/winds howl outside—this is it! [WITHER'S RAIN] delivers on all fronts: great characters, exciting tension, some romance, and evil that bleeds off the pages and plays with your mind. You can't do wrong buying this book. Have fun!"
JON F MERZ, (MAR 13, 2003) - Author of The Lawson Vampire Series as posted on Amazon.com

"WITHER’S RAIN is one of the best horror books of the new millennium. John Passarella has an uncanny knack of tapping into our hidden fears on the pages of his books, especially this one. His talent is on a par with Stephen King, Dean Koontz and Bentley Little."
—HARRIET KLAUSNER, #1 Amazon.com Reviewer

"Passarella is very good at constructing intricate relationships and interactions among his characters, who are generally interesting in their own right, almost independent of the plot. I actually liked the sequel [i.e., WITHER'S RAIN] better than the original [i.e., WITHER], which is almost as rare in books as it is in movies."
—CHRONICLE, January 2003

"You absolutely must check out WITHER'S RAIN by [John] Passarella. It's rare when a horror novel this good comes along, and it should not be missed."
SHIKHAR DIXIT Newsletter, Novel Recommendation

"A sleek, sexy horror novel with one hell of an evil antagonist. I hope... we get Book Three [in the Wendy Ward series] ASAP."
JOHN PLATT, Author of Die Laughing

"[WITHER'S RAIN is a] thrilling and well-told frightfest. Wendy Ward is a great character, full of life and energy, and I hope we see a lot more of her."
—MYSTERIOUS GALAXY Bookstore Newsletter (FEB/MAR 2003) Vol 11 No 2.

"WITHER'S RAIN is a magical, masterful book of terrifying horror. Passarella will keep you checking under beds and in the corners after dark."
—DANIELLE NAIBERT, Wiccan, and Author of Basement Insanities

"5 Stars/Highly Recommended"
—Huntress Reviews (Read the complete review!)


Wither's Legacy

A Wendy Ward Novel

Wither's Legacy: A Wendy Ward Novel

A Wendy Ward Novel
Terror has a new face...

Pocket Books
SEPT 2004
$7.99 US $11.99 CAN
ISBN-10: 0-7434-8479-7
ISBN-13: 978-0743484794

Read the thrilling stand-alone sequel to WITHER'S RAIN.

Places to Order:
(Unless you are willing to pay high "POD" trade paperback pricing, your best bet is to look for the eBook!)
Barnes & Noble
Powell's Books
Or shop local with
For UK orders:
Amazon UK

SYNOPSIS: After destroying Elizabeth Wither, the leader of a murderous coven of witches, Wendy Ward thought the ancient evil was defeated. She was wrong. Wither cursed Wendy and now the young Wiccan must use her supernatural gifts to defeat a seven-foot-tall monster with razor-sharp teeth and a taste for human flesh.

Order a signed, personalized copy at the Passarella Bookstore Page.


"Passarella... invokes the terror that arises from the discovery that familiar figures among us might actually be masks concealing a deadly horror. This one's deceptive. It seduces you in and then hits you with the rough stuff just when you're not expecting it. [WITHER'S LEGACY] makes [WITHER and WITHER'S RAIN] seem tame."

"Comparisons with Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Anita Blake are facile and don't do justice to this series. In a market increasingly crowded with young female do-gooders battling supernatural evil, Wendy Ward is refreshing. John Passarella has turned in an excellent book in WITHER'S LEGACY, the third of the Wendy Ward tales. He brings in a creature from Canadian folklore in a clever way, with flashback sequences that remarkably build sympathy for the monster. His police characters are excellent and he even does some great writing with the character of Abby, a shapeshifter struggling with her alternate shapes. There's a lot more, but why spoil it?"
--SF REVU (read the full review)

"[With WITHER'S LEGACY] Passarella has once again succeeded in creating a novel of palpable suspense with a strong back-story, a driving narrative, emotional resonance and a bang-up climax."
—GARRETT PECK, Fan Demonium #1, FeralFiction.com (read the full review)

"The Wendy Ward series just keeps getting better and better. I can't wait to see what Passarella comes up with next!"
—KELLEY ARMSTRONG, Author of Industrial Magic, Dime Store Magic, Bitten and Stolen

"Books by John Passarella make it very difficult to sleep at night. If you have an overactive imagination, you may never sleep again! This one will chill you to the very marrow of your bones. Excellent!" (5 Stars)

"Go, Wendy! WITHER'S LEGACY is rousing good edge-of-the-seat fun but its strengths and tensions go beyond that. By the time the shit really hits the fan in this book you'll care about everybody involved, so it's as though you're all in this doomed platoon together walking straight into enemy fire. You know you're gonna lose somebody -- the odds say you've got to -- and you hate to know just who."
—JACK KETCHUM, Bram Stoker Award-Winning Author of Peaceable Kingdom and The Girl Next Door.

"Passarella has already won a Stoker [Award] for the first Wendy Ward story (WITHER) and I'm sure this one will be on the short list as well. [WITHER'S LEGACY] is a well written story with completely believable characters and plenty of excitement and action."
—BARYON MAGAZINE, www.baryon-online.com