Cursed at Birth by Stephen Nnamdi

Cursed at Birth

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In Nnamdi’s debut thriller, the first in a planned series, a Canadian security guard starts to believe that his boss is, quite literally, a devil.

After a factory worker is severely burned, Michael Abraham, a security agency temp, wonders about the victim’s claim that he saw Michael’s boss, Paul, transform into a horrible creature. His initial skepticism fades when he learns that other employees are harboring secrets, and soon, other workers are found murdered. After Michael repeatedly sees shadows that look suspiciously like horned demons, he takes it upon himself to investigate Paul, who’s also a preacher. Michael’s investigation leads him to break into his boss’s office, where he discovers a batch of newspaper clippings of accidents—and a list of names, mostly of dead people. Despite the plot’s supernatural elements, the novel is largely a detective story. Like a jaded private eye, Michael narrates with a cold, cynical voice that sometimes seems callous, as when he calls his burned friend, Mannie, a “crispy critter.” However, Michael’s offhanded descriptions more often make the story more tongue-in-cheek than scary; he describes Paul as “three cans short of a six pack” and pooled blood as “real sticky and super gross.” That said, he unfortunately defines female characters solely by their good looks; he even describes a female apparition as a “sexy ghost lady.” He also provides a third-person glimpse into Paul’s origins that deepens the novel’s mystery by introducing a longtime curse and another, more sinister character. These sections have a similar, lighthearted tone, as when one character, during a nightmare, narrowly escapes a large spider but ruins his dress shoes.

A savvy, self-aware supernatural mystery with an appealing protagonist.

Pub Date: April 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1475981186
Page count: 124pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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