Forsaken by J.D. Barker

(Shadow Cove Saga, #1)
Published Nov 30, 2014

From the witch trials of centuries past, an evil awakens.

Inspired by Actual Events

When horror author Thad McAlister began his latest novel, a tale rooted in the witch trials of centuries past, the words flowed effortlessly. The story poured forth, filling page after page with the most frightening character ever to crawl from his imagination. It was his greatest work, one that would guarantee him a position among the legends of the craft.

But was it really fiction?

He inadvertently opened a door, one that would soon jeopardize the lives of his family.

She wants to come back.

At home, his wife struggles to keep their family alive. Secretly wondering if she caused it all…a deal she made long ago. A deal with the Forsaken.

It's been a long time since I've read a witch-themed horror book - I recognize some of the ideas used in this one, with a few of them being new. There was something familiar about it, almost like the characters themselves were haunted by something they recognized in the back of their minds. The book goes back and forth through brief experts in the novel of something that happened back in the day with the original witch trials, to the current day where an innocent family now has to pay the price for their success.

The book reads quickly, the chapters driven by scenes told through the points of view of a small scattering of characters. Pace is consistent, where there isn't much down time to grow bored. The author has some genuinely creepy scenes, especially with the strange minions and the dirt that keeps trapping the family inside the house. I tried practicing a clickity-click-click noise with my own fingernails - how annoying that would grow.

While the story works for being an old-fashioned witch focused horror tale, with a small surprise or two, it didn't live up to my expectations with characterization. I found the page players one-dimensional and predictable, down to some of the dialogue, especially from Dell toward the end. Enough of the story is too familiar, with the characters being a little light, and some of the predictable cheesiness like seduction in the basket, that I settled on a three star rating.

It's worth a read, especially for horror fans who dig this kind of thing.

   Book Quotes:

“Sometimes the most frightening of thoughts can be found hiding among the shadows of our own minds.”

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