Years after their mother died and their father abandoned them, sisters Lily and Hyacinth Tellez find themselves at the center of another family scandal at their aging—and possibly cursed—estate on Tomahawk Creek.
Built on the battleground of dueling Native American tribes, Holloway Manor is prime real estate for a haunting. Locals say the tomahawk-shaped creek that surrounds the house once ran red with blood, leaving a curse on the land. Matriarch Celeste Ducette can barely hide her contempt for her granddaughters, who remain on the estate while a local developer pressures them to sell the property. As the Ducette family history unfolds in a series of flashbacks, the sisters find more skeletons in the closet than ghosts in the attic. The Native Americans seem only tangentially related to the supernatural forces at work, relayed in gossip that adds little suspense to the story, save for Lily’s heightened anxiety over an unexplained noise heard indoors at an afternoon historical society function. Meanwhile, a search through the family heirlooms reveals far more interesting secrets about Lily and Hyacinth’s parents, the privileged Evangeline Ducette and her father’s day laborer, Sam Tellez, who ran off together against their parents’ wishes after a brief but steamy courtship. The Ducette family’s propensity for malice, conveyed through acid dialogue and knee-jerk reactions, propels the narrative forward, each chapter more shocking than the last, to the mysterious, heart-wrenching tragedy that left the sisters orphans and Celeste a widow. The family members aren’t as genteel as they seem, least of all Lily and Hyacinth. The girls’ alternately sweet and sinister dispositions leave readers wondering if their ancient curse might just be genetic. Their attempts at lifting the alleged family curse go awry, culminating in a deliciously gruesome scramble to hide the evidence from the prying eyes of their community. After an uneven build-up, the curse of Tomahawk Creek returns full-force in an explosive, unpredictable ending.
Ghost hunters will find few spooks on Tomahawk Creek, but inside the iron gates of Holloway Manor, the fiery Tellez sisters uncover a family intrigue that makes for a fast-paced, enjoyable read.