In this debut supernatural novel, a woman’s life in Vancouver turns into a whirlwind of romantic encounters, nightmares of demons, and strange voices inside her home.
Cali Stenson, 24, isn’t exactly fond of her temp job in customer service at Tony’s Furniture Giant. But some promising events happen all at once. She gets a promotion to a permanent gig, makes friends with a few colleagues, and learns that her aloof boss, Sean Stock, may actually be disguising his attraction to her. But while things are looking up at work, her modest house, where she lives with her female cat, Dallas, is a source of agitation. For most of her life, Cali has been plagued by “weird stuff”—unknown voices, recurrent nightmares, and unexplained occurrences, such as lights turning on by themselves. Moving from her childhood home in Toronto to Vancouver hasn’t changed anything, and lately she’s having trouble distinguishing dreams from memories or reality. Soon she is seeing visions, like someone in her backyard, and has reason to believe some dreams are premonitions. There seems to be a threat from the red-eyed demon in her nightmares, but as it turns out, the greatest danger facing Cali may be human and closer than she knows. Cali’s first-person perspective is rife with vivid details, such as lengthy scenes at Tony’s Furniture that center on Cali and Sean’s developing relationship. But this suits Marie’s novel, which is an engrossing hodgepodge of supernatural episodes, from ghostly figures to unnerving dreams with people Cali knows (for example, her sister). Moreover, the highlighted romance is complicated by Deacon Hall, a manufacturer’s rep with an unveiled interest in Cali. Despite her burdens, Cali is a self-assured woman. The story’s only flaw is occasionally trite dialogue or narration (“But I was a grown-ass woman now”). Fortunately, this hardly affects a number of genuinely nail-biting moments, like a dream demon grabbing Cali’s ankles and dragging her off the sofa.
A delightfully eerie tale led by a likable and steadfast protagonist.