BRIMSTONE by Cherie Priest

BRIMSTONE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A young clairvoyant must save herself and her community from the ghosts a war veteran has brought home in Priest's (The Family Plot, 2016, etc.) newest fantasy/horror offering.

Alice Dartle comes from a long line of witches but has found warm welcome rather than hostile prejudice in the arms of a charming spiritualist community in Prohibition-era Florida. While still learning her gifts, Alice is thrust into a struggle with a malign entity haunting a man named Tomás Cordero—a Cuban-American tailor who served in Europe during the war and brought some of its atrocities home with him. Tomás is convinced the spirit of his late wife is responsible for the increasingly dangerous fires that follow him around, while Alice thinks it's a darker force. The two race against a rising death toll to uncover both the truth of his haunting and a way to stop it before everything they both love is burned to cinders. Unfortunately, the building of this tension repeatedly requires Alice to withhold important information from her more experienced mentors—with a net result that Alice reads as immature rather than individualistic. Tomás, however, is a compelling portrait of a man driven to irrational choices by deep grief: there's a genuinely creepy scene where the desperate Tomás burns a prized possession. Despite the potential punch of Tomás' obsession, the resolution, when it comes, is more of a sputter than a conflagration. The heroes all do what they are supposed to do, and the day is saved with a great deal of understanding and acceptance on everyone's parts.

A tale as amiably warm as the Florida town where it's set but with its promises of real heat fading away before a pat conclusion that ties everything off a bit too neatly.

Pub Date: April 4th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-101-99073-5
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Ace/Berkley
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1st, 2017




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