Girl in search of her true parents unearths disquieting family murders in a murky horror debut set in the mountains of Tennessee.
Of uncertain parentage, with a racial makeup somewhere between black and white (her teenaged mother died in childbirth while incarcerated in Pine Breeze mental asylum), Eden has a gift for divination. While growing up with Aunt Lulu and Uncle Dave on Signal Mountain, she gets in trouble at school and in town because of her psychic visions. She sees three sisters pursued and killed by their father, Avery, and comes to identify herself with Miabella, who was Avery’s youngest, favored daughter. Meanwhile, in the world of the living, young Eden is stalked by her delusional cousin Malachi Dufresne. His mother, Tatie Eliza, is steeped in the cult of a certain 19th-century practitioner of black magic, John Gray, who was eventually killed by priests. It turns out that Avery was also a follower of Gray, and someone has tapped into Avery’s destructive power. Unless Eden can find an elusive book of spells, Gray’s followers will emerge again from obscurity. With the help of Harry, a priest turned servant who knows the whole story of Eden’s ancestry, Eden takes off on a road trip. In Highlands Hammock State Park she stumbles onto a coven of cultists who are still trying to raise John Gray. Kidnapped at the swamp site by misguided Malachi, who believes she’s on the dark side, Eden finally manages to conjure angry Avery and attempts to restore peace to the restless ghosts.
Wildly contrived and oddly chilly, despite all the ranting and raving.