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GODDESS CHOSEN

A masterful historical fantasy that informs as well as enthralls.

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This thriller sees a businessman with a dark past battle a magician determined to topple Haiti’s spiritual legacy.

Charles Redmond manages an import/export business in Washington, D.C. Joseph de Alverado, one of his clients, is an unsettling eccentric. He orders what seem like “religious temple furnishings” and can open a sealed shipping crate barehanded. When Charles dreams of Joseph as a demon, he visits his psychiatrist. Dr. Sanantha Mauwad, who lived in Haiti as a child, recognizes on Charles’ leather wallet the symbol for Papa Legba, the Voodou Jesus figure. She writes an antidepressant prescription and asks if Charles has been to the Caribbean. He says no. Meanwhile, in a Haitian temple, Joseph reports to Silas Alverado, his “master.” Silas may look like a mere elderly man, but he’s Chosen—he “died one hundred generations ago” as Royarna, the High Priest of Amun. The magician plans to “re-enshrine His Dark Majesty” Osiris and convert Haitian Voodou followers into worshippers of the faded Egyptian deity. Silas’ demonic work takes him to the British Museum in London and a tomb near the site of ancient Thebes, among other locations, where corpses pile up in his wake. Charles, who lied about having been to the Caribbean, implores the Voodou love goddess Erzulie to protect him from Joseph. Hartlove (Daughter Cell, 2013, etc.) fashions a riveting blend of history, religion, and horror in this briskly paced series opener. He carries readers from grounded moments to dreamlike fantasy with steely ease, as in the line “A thousand birds and insects all noisily took flight as the ground buckled, the trees swayed, and the terrain undulated as the Serpent of Creation slid through the jungle floor.” The magical Silas performs some truly grisly acts, including possessing a teenage girl and using her to seduce and then murder an Egyptian guard. The author balances his ferocious imagination with historical passion, giving Charles a tragic, though captivating, backstory as a Haitian death squad member. Sanantha remains the heart of the tale, offering Charles human support as Silas challenges the devil in a potentially world-rending finale.

A masterful historical fantasy that informs as well as enthralls.

Pub Date: July 31, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-949139-58-7

Page Count: 269

Publisher: Paper Angel Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 31, 2019

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MAGIC HOUR

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Sisters work together to solve a child-abandonment case.

Ellie and Julia Cates have never been close. Julia is shy and brainy; Ellie gets by on charm and looks. Their differences must be tossed aside when a traumatized young girl wanders in from the forest into their hometown in Washington. The sisters’ professional skills are put to the test. Julia is a world-renowned child psychologist who has lost her edge. She is reeling from a case that went publicly sour. Though she was cleared of all wrongdoing, Julia’s name was tarnished, forcing her to shutter her Beverly Hills practice. Ellie Barton is the local police chief in Rain Valley, who’s never faced a tougher case. This is her chance to prove she is more than just a fading homecoming queen, but a scarcity of clues and a reluctant victim make locating the girl’s parents nearly impossible. Ellie places an SOS call to her sister; she needs an expert to rehabilitate this wild-child who has been living outside of civilization for years. Confronted with her professional demons, Julia once again has the opportunity to display her talents and salvage her reputation. Hannah (The Things We Do for Love, 2004, etc.) is at her best when writing from the girl’s perspective. The feral wolf-child keeps the reader interested long after the other, transparent characters have grown tiresome. Hannah’s torturously over-written romance passages are stale, but there are surprises in store as the sisters set about unearthing Alice’s past and creating a home for her.

Wacky plot keeps the pages turning and enduring schmaltzy romantic sequences.

Pub Date: March 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-345-46752-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Ballantine

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2005

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THE CATCHER IN THE RYE

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

A violent surfacing of adolescence (which has little in common with Tarkington's earlier, broadly comic, Seventeen) has a compulsive impact.

"Nobody big except me" is the dream world of Holden Caulfield and his first person story is down to the basic, drab English of the pre-collegiate. For Holden is now being bounced from fancy prep, and, after a vicious evening with hall- and roommates, heads for New York to try to keep his latest failure from his parents. He tries to have a wild evening (all he does is pay the check), is terrorized by the hotel elevator man and his on-call whore, has a date with a girl he likes—and hates, sees his 10 year old sister, Phoebe. He also visits a sympathetic English teacher after trying on a drunken session, and when he keeps his date with Phoebe, who turns up with her suitcase to join him on his flight, he heads home to a hospital siege. This is tender and true, and impossible, in its picture of the old hells of young boys, the lonesomeness and tentative attempts to be mature and secure, the awful block between youth and being grown-up, the fright and sickness that humans and their behavior cause the challenging, the dramatization of the big bang. It is a sorry little worm's view of the off-beat of adult pressure, of contemporary strictures and conformity, of sentiment….

A strict report, worthy of sympathy.

Pub Date: June 15, 1951

ISBN: 0316769177

Page Count: -

Publisher: Little, Brown

Review Posted Online: Nov. 2, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 15, 1951

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