Saturday, February 12, 2011

The Creature's Curse by Paul Braus

Tired of wading through the untold masses of Undead and/or serial killer fiction that seems to be saturating the small press right now? Long for the days when demons reigned supreme in horror? Then you might want to get your hands on Paul Braus' debut novel - The Creature's Curse.

There is an angry, massive, unearthly beast lurking at the end of Buck Tree Road. Locals know the brutal history of the creepy house on the road - but some are so curious they cannot stay away.

Meanwhile, Abigail Merriweather and Eldon Bailey are working their way through a rocky courtship to build a life together. Both are harboring secrets, however, that will prove to be damaging - and maybe even deadly. Through it all, Abigail clings to the one item that she treasures more than life itself: a small pewter medallion on a chain that she wears around her neck.

First worn by her distant relative, a woman executed for alleged witchcraft in Salem, Massachusetts in 1694, the medallion has become an odd and insistent presence in Abigail's life. But what is the connection between the ancient amulet, the creature and the horrible history of the house at the end of Buck Tree Road?

And can anyone really feel safe with the creature poised to strike again?

In the opening pages of this novel, Braus shows the reader exactly what he intends to bring to the table and immediately begins to deliver. Wasting no time whatsoever, this books reaches straight for the throat and delivers a physical and psychological jab, grabbing the reader's attention. The characters are set, the plot is in motion, and yet the reader has no idea what is in store.

Braus' characters are very well fleshed out. Their individual histories are told in a series of flashbacks and through carefully crafted dialogue. The author doesn't reveal too much in the beginning, but rather decides to let the reader find out slowly through dialogue and action. This is an admittedly difficult task, being that the story takes place over two decades, and, furthermore, has ties to events that happened hundreds of years ago that affect the outcome of the story at present.

Relying heavily on some well researched facts, Braus is able to create a very convincing back story for the main character - Abigail - and uses this to present what seems to be her steady psychological decline. And he does this all very well. The brutal psychological beating that Abigail's husband - Eldon - takes, is all the more terrible for this.

Braus also manages to mix a whole heap of sex, abuse, and various other sinister things into the plot, taking the reader of an epic journey in a short period of time. Witches, spells, and monsters abound in this fun little read. The gore is very well described and just radiates off the page.

Apart from a formatting issue that relied on italicization far too often for this reader, I found this book to be a great departure from the vast amount of zombies, vampires, and psychopaths that are currently cluttering the shelves in most brick and mortar stores. It's nice to see a good old fashioned Witch story every once in a while, and this one certainly fills the void beautifully. Braus certainly knows how to entertain, and flaunts his stuff unapologetically in this novel.

You can find out more about the book here, and find out more about Braus here. You can grab yourself a copy of The Creature's Curse at Amazon, and most online booksellers.

PBH.

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