A riveting and unsettling horror story with a compelling hero.



A novel presents a woman’s strange and surreal journey.

Cooper’s story starts with a tragedy. While driving one night, Lily Henshaw and her three best friends are accosted by two men in a truck. “It’s crazy time!” one of them says. Lily’s pals end up dead, but she somehow survives. Months later, she deals with physical and psychological scars—her trauma is palpable, and her survivor’s guilt is debilitating. But Lily carries on until people around her die (her brother, David, who chooses suicide), get diagnosed as terminally ill (her mom), or are attacked (her boss, Burt, whose business is destroyed in a break-in). Lily’s house is invaded by locusts, which she may or may not be hallucinating. They appear just before she is sexually assaulted. Then her next-door neighbor commits a violent crime. The locusts could be a portent, but of what, Lily wonders: Is she cursed? Is this the apocalypse? To get answers, Lily, with Burt by her side, consults a psychic and Satan worshipers until she finally meets with the higher-ups of a corporation that does work for God himself. Cooper’s dark horror story is an uncomfortable, trippy, and original roller-coaster ride with a side of romance. Readers will find the tale vastly disorienting at first. But once Lily’s investigation starts, they will decide to shadow her, wanting to find answers alongside the protagonist. Remarkably for a novel that poses big questions about God, the devil, and the meaning of life, the story manages to bypass the dangers of religious pontification. Instead, the tale concentrates on Lily’s bravery as she makes her way through the madness around her. Unfortunately, there is an important part of the work that looks at death by suicide and suicide clusters with less consideration than the topic deserves. Still, despite the big chunks of expository monologues in some places, the narrative flows smoothly to its gripping finale.

A riveting and unsettling horror story with a compelling hero. (images, photos illustrate a few chapters.) (Horror. 18-Adult)

Pub Date: Jan. 7, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-977250-43-8

Page Count: 346

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Review Posted Online: March 7, 2022

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A unique story of transcendent love.


An aimless young musician meets the girl of his dreams only to have his newfound happiness threatened by several inexplicable—and possibly supernatural—events.

The story opens as Leeds Gabriel meets with a detective while his girlfriend, Layla, is restrained in a room one flight above them. Through the interview, readers learn that Leeds was wasting both his time and his musical talent playing backup for a small-town wedding troupe called Garrett’s Band when he spied Layla dancing her heart out to their mediocre music at a wedding. When Leeds approaches Layla, their connection is both instant and intense. A blissful courtship follows, but then Leeds makes the mistake of posting a picture of himself with Layla on social media. A former girlfriend–turned-stalker wastes no time in finding and attacking Layla. Layla spends months recovering in a hospital, and it seems the girl Leeds fell for might be forever changed. Gone is her special spark, her quirkiness, and the connection that had entranced Leeds months before. In a last-ditch effort to save their relationship, he brings Layla back to the bed-and-breakfast where they first met. When they get there, though, Leeds meets Willow, another guest, and finds himself drawn to her in spite of himself. As events unfold, it becomes clear that Willow will either be the key to saving Leeds’ relationship with Layla or the catalyst that finally extinguishes the last shreds of their epic romance. Told entirely from Leeds’ point of view, the author’s first foray into paranormal romance does not disappoint. Peppered with elements of mystery, psychological thriller, and contemporary romance, the novel explores questions about how quickly true love can develop, as well as the conflicts that can imperil even the strongest connections. Despite a limited cast of characters and very few setting changes, the narrative manages to remain both fast-paced and engaging. The conclusion leaves a few too many loose ends, but the chemistry between the characters and unexpected twists throughout make for a satisfying read.

A unique story of transcendent love.

Pub Date: Dec. 8, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-5420-0017-8

Page Count: 301

Publisher: Montlake Romance

Review Posted Online: Sept. 15, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 1, 2020

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A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.


Emerson’s striking debut follows a Navajo police photographer almost literally to hell and back.

Rita Todacheene sees dead people. Since most of her attempts to talk to someone about her special power while she was growing up on the reservation ended in disaster, she’s tried to keep it to herself during her five years with the Albuquerque Police Department. Her precarious peace is shattered by the death of Erma Singleton, manager of a bar owned by Matias Romero, her common-law husband. Although lazy Detective Martin Garcia has ruled that Erma fell from a highway bridge, her body shattered by the truck that hit her on the roadway below, Erma insists that she was pushed from the bridge. “Help me get back to my baby,” she tells Rita, “or I’ll make your life a living hell.” Since Rita, a civilian employee, has few resources for an investigation, Erma opens a portal that unleashes scores of ghosts on her, all clamoring for justice or mercy or a few words with the loved ones they left behind. The nightmare that propels Rita forward, from snapping photos of Judge Harrison Winters and his wife and children and dog, all shot dead in what Garcia calls a murder-suicide, to revelations that link both these deaths and Erma’s to the drug business of the Sinaloa cartel, is interleaved with repeated flashbacks that show the misfit Rita’s early years on her Navajo reservation and in her Catholic grade school as she struggles to come to terms with a gift that feels more like a curse. The appeal of the case as a series kickoff is matched by the challenges Emerson will face in pulling off any sequels.

A whodunit upstaged at every point by the unforgettably febrile intensity of the heroine’s first-person narrative.

Pub Date: Aug. 2, 2022

ISBN: 978-1-641-29333-4

Page Count: 312

Publisher: Soho Crime

Review Posted Online: May 10, 2022

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2022

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